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Sunday, 30 June 2024 20:30

Ramaphosa announces bloated cabinet, DA's Steenhuisen named agriculture minister.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced his much-anticipated new Cabinet in his government of national unity (GNU) on Sunday evening, 30th June 2024.

Ramaphosa said that it took some time to ensure the stability of the Cabinet, and negotiations needed their time to ensure that the Cabinet best serving the country.

"In forming this coalition, we have demonstrated that through dialogue, even the most complex challenges can find resolution," he said, urging national support for the newly appointed cabinet tasked with realising South Africa's collective aspirations.

The announcement of the new executive followed more than a week of negotiations that ensued when the African National Congress (ANC) invited its rivals to join a so-called GNU.

For the first time in South Africa's democratic history, no single party obtained an outright majority in the general elections, with the incumbent ANC falling to 40% of the vote.

Thus, a co-governing agreement labeled the GNU has been agreed to by 11 political parties represented in the National Assembly. The President had to constitute a Cabinet that juggled the wants of the ANC, its alliance partners, and members of the GNU.

Eleven political parties, namely are the ANC, DA, PA, GOOD, Al Jama-ah, Rise Mzansi, PAC, UDM, IFP, and the FF Plus. 

Ramaphosa has reconfigured the Cabinet, saying that he could not reduce the size of the National Executive if he wanted to include the parties that he did.

These include:

  • Ministries of Electricity and Energy will now be merged;
  • Ministry for Minerals and Petroleum Resources;
  • Separate Ministry of Agriculture from Land Reform and Rural Development;
  • Separate the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Technology and Innovation;
  • Separate the Ministry Justice and Constitutional Develeopment and Correctional Services;
  • Dissolve the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

There are now 32 ministries and the full executive is as follows:

The Deputy President is Paul Mashatile.

The Minister of Agriculture is John Steenhuisen.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture is Rosemary Nokuzola Capa.

The Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development is Mzwanele Nyhontso.

The Deputy Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development is Chupu Stanley Mathabatha.

The Minister of Basic Education is Siviwe Gwarube.

The Deputy Minister of Basic Education is Reginah Mhaule.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies is Solly Malatsi.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies is Mondli Gungubele.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is Velinkosi Hlabisa.

The Deputy Ministers of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are Dickson Masemola and Zolile Burns-Ncamashe.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is Angie Motshekga.

The Deputy Ministers of Defence and Military Veterans are Bantu Holomisa and Richard Mkhungo.

The Minister of Electricity and Energy is Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

The Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy is Samantha Graham.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation is Blade Nzimande.

The Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation is Nomalungelo Gina.

The Minister of Employment and Labour is Nomakhosazana Meth.

The Deputy Ministers of Employment and Labour are Jomo Sibiya and Phumzile Mgcina.

The Minister of Finance is Enoch Godongwana.

The Deputy Ministers of Finance are David Masondo and Ashor Sarupen.

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is Dion George.

The Deputy Ministers of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment are Narend Singh and Bernice Swarts.

The Minister of Health is Aaron Motsoaledi.

The Deputy Minister of Health is Joe Phaahla.

The Minister of Higher Education is Nobuhle Nkabane.

The Deputy Ministers of Higher Education are Buti Manamela and Mimmy Gondwe.

The Minister of Home Affairs is Leon Schreiber.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is Njabulo Nzuza.

The Minister of Human Settlements is Mmamoloko Kubayi.

The Deputy Minister of Human Settlements is Tandi Mahambehlala.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation is Ronald Lamola.

The Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation are Alvin Botes and Tandi Moraka.

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development is Thembi Nkadimeng.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development is Andries Nel.

The Minister of Mineral and Petroleum Resources is Gwede Mantashe.

The Deputy Minister of Mineral and Petroleum Resources is Judith Nemadzinga-Tshabalala.

Deputy ministers are appointed by the President, but are not members of the Cabinet. They rather assist the abovementioned cabinet ministers in the execution of their duties.

Reactions

GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron congratulated the new executive and said they must settle in quickly.

"Abnormal inequality and poverty have the country close to breaking point, and the new (expanded) government will be closely monitored and judged on its performance in bringing marginalized South Africans in from the cold.

"The new GNU also has a critical job to re-assert non-racialism following an election in which many South Africans voted on identity lines. Failing in this regard will lead to unprecedented division on the road to the next general election in 2029.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba describes the Cabinet as "bloated and compromised" but acknowledged that the announcement put an end to the uncertainty of the past few weeks.

"South Africans have been calling for a reduction in the size of Cabinet for years given that our country has one of the biggest cabinets in the world in the context of a country where most of its citizens languish in poverty and struggle to keep up with the cost of living."

Trade union federation and ANC-alliance partner Cosatu expects the GNU "to hit the ground running and get on with the business of unlocking the economy, creating decent permanent jobs, reducing poverty and inequality and ensuring inclusive growth beyond the paltry 1% the country has endured in recent years," said its acting spokesperson, Matthew Parks.

"Whilst Cosatu and our allies, the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress, campaigned tirelessly for an outright ANC majority at the 29 May polls, we accept the will of voters to see political power shared amongst vastly different and contesting political formations. The GNU must be guided by the Constitution and the rule of law and be biased towards the needs of working-class communities. As the leading party nationally and provincially, we expect the policy mandate of the GNU to be anchored upon the ANC manifesto, as we cannot afford a free-for-all where each of the GNU's 10 parties' manifestos vie for space."

Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi said in a statement that they look forward to "playing an active role in elevating the status of Parliament and ensuring that the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers act uphold the Constitution, act with integrity, and spend the people’s money correctly".

"Our participation in the GNU does not mean we will rubber stamp all decisions of the Executive. We will scrutinise all pronouncements and decisions of the Executive, and where it is in the best interests of the people of South Africa, we will lend our support. Moreover, we will also push to ensure that there is proper parliamentary oversight over The Presidency; the mechanisms of which the Rules Committee has already begun exploring."

BOSA spokesperson Roger Solomons said the party will use its representation in Parliament to ensure that the GNU acts in the interests of all South Africans and not in its own.

"We appealed to Mr Ramaphosa to establish a National Convention – comprising all 18 Parliamentary Parties – to decide on a new government that represents the interests of all 60 million South Africans.