What Ramaphosa’s new cabinet could look like – including a few shocks

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s restructured cabinet could see the surprise omission of deputy president David Mabuza and women’s minister, and ANC Women’s League president, Bathabile Dlamini, according to the Sunday Times.

Water & sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane is also likely to get the chop, the paper said.

South Africa’s parliamentarians are set to be sworn in on 22 May 2019.

Those MPs will then elect a new president for the country, who will be inaugurated on the following Saturday (25 May).

The president will announce his new cabinet on 26 or 27 May, and the new ministers will be sworn on the 28th.

Citing a source close to the president, the Sunday Times said that Ramaphosa expects a backlash from the women’s league, but will assure the structure that women will be in the majority in his cabinet.

The women’s ministry, therefore, is likely to remain, the Sunday Times said.

Fresh faces

“Those who are assured a spot in Ramaphosa’s cabinet include fresh faces such as David Masondo, Ronald Lamola and Zizi Kodwa. ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula is also set for a return to the cabinet, this time as human settlements minister.”

Ronald Lamola, a member of the ANC’s top governing body, is being considered for rural development & land affairs, a position currently held by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Energy minister Jeff Radebe looks set for a return to the justice ministry, and Jackson Mthembu is likely to be deployed to communications, the Sunday Times said.

Masondo could take over one of the key ministries in the economic cluster, the paper reported.

Citing multiple sources in and outside of the government, the Sunday Times reported that Mabuza could move to Luthuli House, with Paul Mashatile taking his place in Parliament.

Ramaphosa focus

Speaking at an investor conference this week, Ramaphosa made it clear that his new cabinet will be made up of competent individuals who will focus on growing South Africa’s economy.

It is widely expected that the cabinet will be reduced from 35 departments to around 25 (or even fewer). This could lead to a merging of the departments of sports and arts & culture, with Kodwa potentially a minister or deputy there, the Sunday Times said.

Considering the party’s controversial list of MPs, the president may be hamstrung, internally, into putting familiar faces into positions of power.

While Ramaphosa, has already taken aim at corruption by sacking some compromised ministers and officials and empowering investigations, “much of his party still hasn’t gotten the message,” Bloomberg recently pointed out.

Several high-profile malefactors have been re-elected to parliament. Ramaphosa needs to keep them out of his cabinet.

He also needs to make sure that those responsible for engaging in past acts of corruption are held to account. “To that end, the president must ensure that the National Prosecuting Authority has the resources it needs,” Bloomberg said.

It also said that the president should replace the Public Protector — “who has not lived up to the high standards set by her predecessor”.

Ramaphosa must convince unions, staunch ANC backers, that there is more to be gained by expanding opportunity and competition than by maintaining the bloated payrolls of Eskom and other state-owned enterprises.

“For too long, the ANC has corralled votes by effectively ring-fencing the privileges of the minority of South African workers with formal jobs.

To provide the ANC’s promised “better life for all,” Ramaphosa should put his country before his party. If he does so, both may come out on top, Bloomberg said.

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What Ramaphosa’s new cabinet could look like – including a few shocks