Featured image: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Credit: PBS NewsHour

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, last night announced changes to the National Executive, as well as the appointment of David Mabuza as the new Deputy President of the Republic.

A familiar face, Pravin Gordhan – known for his deft ability at service delivery and turnaround of departments – who was fired by former President Jacob Zuma last March, was reappointed to the cabinet.

Gordhan will head up the key public enterprises department, which oversees around 300 state-owned enterprises, including the country’s cash-strapped power utility Eskom.

In other key placements, Nhlanhla Nene makes a comeback as finance minister and Jeff Radebe is appointed as Minister of Energy. Radebe takes over from David Mahlobo, who was seen as the man to push the nuclear agenda for Zuma. Read more…

Cabinet reshuffle is a “fatal compromise”

In a media briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the President explained that he had made the decision to make certain changes to the composition of the National Executive.

“These changes are intended to ensure that national government is better equipped to implement the mandate of this administration and specifically the tasks identified in the State of the Nation Address,” said Ramaphosa.

However, in responding to the announcement, Mmusi Maimane, leader of opposition party the DA, said: “Tonight we saw the fatal compromise Cyril Ramaphosa made at Nasrec exposed for all to see, as David Mabuza will be sworn in as the deputy president of South Africa.”

“Ramaphosa’s decision to side with scandal-ridden Mabuza undermines the integrity of his stated commitment to fight corruption and rebuild from the tatters of the Zuma decade.

“There is no doubt that David Mabuza is unfit to be the deputy president of South Africa. During his two decades in office, he has been at the centre of a string of controversies – ranging from blatant corruption to violent thuggery.”

However, Maimane added: “The appointment of Pravin Gordhan as minister of public enterprises is a sound one, and we do hope he will lead the charge in rooting out the rot within our State-Owned Entities (SOEs).

“Nhlanhla Nene’s return as finance minister must be welcomed. Nene’s first action as finance minister must be to reverse the increase in VAT and transport levies, and introduce a range of spending cuts to plug the deficit in our public finances.”

The positions of Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises and Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will remain vacant.

Thinking ahead to the 2019 elections

President Ramaphosa said in making the changes, he was conscious of the need to balance continuity and stability with the need for renewal, economic recovery and accelerated transformation.

“As indicated in the State of the Nation Address, we have begun a review of the configuration, size and number of national Ministries and Departments. We will retain the existing Ministries and Departments until that review is completed,” he said.

Many of the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers will be sworn in, in Cape Town today (Tuesday, 27 February). The others will be sworn in, in the coming days.

“I wish to express my appreciation to all outgoing Ministers and Deputy Ministers for their service to government and to the people of South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.

All the president’s men and women

Communications: Nomvula Mokonyane

Energy: Jeff Radebe

Higher Education and Training: Naledi Pandor

Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba (former Minister of Finance)

Human Settlements: Nomaindia Mfeketo

International Relations and Cooperation: Lindiwe Sisulu

Mineral Resources: Gwede Mantashe

Police: Bheki Cele

Public Enterprises: Pravin Gordhan (formerly held by Lynne Brown)

Public Service and Administration: Ayanda Dlodlo

Public Works: Thulas Nxesi

Rural Development and Land Reform: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Science and Technology: Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane

Social Development: Susan Shabangu

Sport and Recreation: Tokozile Xasa

State Security: Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

The Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The Presidency: Women: Bathabile Dlamini

Tourism: Derek Hanekom

Transport: Blade Nzimande

Water and Sanitation: Gugile Nkwinti

The President also announced the following Deputy Ministers:

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Sfiso Buthelezi

Communications: Pinky Kekana

Finance: Mondli Gungubele

Public Service and Administration: Chana Pilane-Majeke

Small Business Development: Cassel Mathale

African Utility Week