Ramaphosa Unveils Cabinet and Cracks the Whip on Ministers
An emboldened President Cyril Ramaphosa stamped his new-found authority on the government late Wednesday evening, trimming the Cabinet by eight ministerial posts and flexing his muscles by leaving out in the cold some of the most controversial individuals.
Ramaphosa retained the reluctant but trusted Tito Mboweni as Minister of Finance, whilst placing Ebrahim Patel in charge of a combined ‘super economic portfolio’ which includes Trade and Industry as well as Economic Development. In spite of a blatant attempt by the Public Protector to rule Pravin Gordhan out of contention for Cabinet by hastily issuing a report which founded Gordhan guilty of violating the Executive Ethics Code, Ramaphosa evidently considered Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s own credibility in proceeding to reappoint Gordhan to the critical Public Enterprises post.
The extractive industry’s darling, former mineworkers’ union boss Gwede Mantashe, was charged with responsibility for Energy, now combined with his previous Mineral Resources portfolio.
In what has been widely welcomed as a deft reconfiguration of Government, Ramaphosa amalgamated several ministries and axed the likes of ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini and Siyabonga Cwele, key supporters and enablers of former President Jacob Zuma’s nine-year rein. Another of Zuma’s lieutenants, Nomvula Mokonyane, declined a post as Chair of Chairpersons in Parliament.