Ramaphosa considers cabinet reshuffle to cut ministers and departments: report

President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering a cabinet reshuffle, which would include a reduction in the number of ministers and changes to state-owned enterprises, the City Press reports.

However, the president will either need to wait or introduce short-term changes as the government’s final report on the restructuring of state institutions is still pending.

Among the considerations for a reshuffle include the consolidation of the Department of Small Business Development under the Department of Trade and Industry.

It is proposed that the Department of Public Enterprises also be scrapped, with the various state-owned enterprises instead placed under the control of existing departments.

This would mean that Eskom would fall under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, while Transnet would fall under the Department of Transport.

State-security minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Water minister Lindiwe Sisulu have both been named as possible candidates for axing – a report that has been reiterated by the Mail & Guardian.

Ramaphosa is also expected to find replacements for existing positions, including former minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu, who died earlier this year.

The ANC’s Enoch Godongwana confirmed that the party would use the government’s pending report for guidance on possible changes to the executive. He added that any changes made in the time-being would be short-term.

Consolidation

The issue of the cabinet’s size and associated departments has long been a flagship project of Ramaphosa, who has highlighted the costs of maintaining a large executive.

When Cyril Ramaphosa was first elected as president of the country on 15 February 2018, he quickly announced a cabinet reshuffle on 26 February in which many ministers from the Zuma administration were removed from their posts.

However, due to the internal politics of the ANC – which was deeply divided over the election of its president – many controversial figures seen to be loyal to the previous president were retained.

A second cabinet reshuffle came in November 2018, following the death of minister Edna Molewa and the resignation of Malusi Gigaba.

On 29 May 2019, following the 2019 general election, Ramaphosa announced a new cabinet in which the number of ministers was reduced from 36 to 28.

Before the restructuring, South Africa’s cabinet comprised 72 people, including the president, his deputy, ministers and deputy ministers – an outlier among countries of the same size and economy.

The latest cabinet is now made up of 64 members – including Ramaphosa, Mabuza, 28 ministers and 34 deputies.

The size of South Africa’s cabinet had ballooned over the years, from 50 members under former president Thabo Mbeki, to 72 members under Jacob Zuma.


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Ramaphosa considers cabinet reshuffle to cut ministers and departments: report