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Sunday, 30 June 2024 16:41

Ramaphosa to announce his inclusive Cabinet tonight at 9pm.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce his Cabinet in the government of national unity (GNU) on Sunday night.

Presidency in a statement, said Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 21:00.

"The new national executive will constitute the [seventh] democratic administration as a Government of National Unity [GNU] comprising a diversity of political parties as an outcome of the national and provincial elections held on Wednesday, 29 May 2024," the Presidency's statement reads.

Negotiations to the establishment of the seventh administration began with the signing of a statement of intent to co-govern South Africa after the African National Congress (ANC) abysmal performance during the hotly contested May polls.

After the loss, Ramaphosa announced that the party would open its doors to negotiating with other political parties to form a GNU.

Ten political parties are now signatories, namely the ANC, DA, Patriotic Alliance, GOOD, Al Jama-ah, Rise Mzansi, PAC, UDM, IFP, and the FF Plus. 

Ramaphosa was re-elected president for a second term during the first sitting of Parliament on 15 June.

The president, who battled it out for the position with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, received 283 votes, while Malema scored 44 votes.

Last week's deadlock between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC led to Ramaphosa delaying his announcement of the new Cabinet.

Eventually the both parties reached a deal on who gets which cabinet posts.

The DA has been offered six cabinet portfolios: Home Affairs; Basic Education; Public Works and Infrastructure; Communications and Digital Technologies; and Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, now Agriculture and Rural Development.

Apart from the resistance from alliance partners, there is a grouping within Ramaphosa's camp that favoured a coalition with the DA, rather than the alternative route of aligning with the EFF, but argued against taking the party into cabinet.  

Instead, they proposed an agreement whereby the ANC would control the executive and the DA be given key positions in parliament. The argument was that this would allow each to preserve its distinct identity and ideology. 

But the parties' chief negotiators decided differently and, by this week, the concerns about party identity had more openly turned to personal interest in securing positions, of which there will now be fewer for ANC members. Ramaphosa, always a stickler for experience and continuity, has also been under pressure from his core supporters in the party to appoint younger ministers.

In the interim, government departments continue functioning under the leadership of their directors general. But ministers cease to be ministers the moment Ramaphosa takes the oath.

Parliament has issued a draft programme for its first term, according to which portfolio committee chairs will be elected on 5 July. But whereas in the past almost all these positions would go to ANC members — the watchdog Standing Committee on Public Accounts being a notable exception — it is understood that they are now part of the coalition negotiations.