Zuma shows his hand

2014-05-26 00:00

THREE ministers in the security cluster who butted heads with the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela over her report on Nkandla have lost their cabinet portfolios.

This was part of several surprising shuffles that President Jacob Zuma made last night in Pretoria. He also announced that Nathi Mthethwa, (Police), Jeff Radebe, (Justice) and Siyabongwa Cwele, (State Security), will move to less influential ministerial positions.

Mthethwa is now minister of Arts and Culture, Cwele heads a new Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services and Radebe is Minister in the Presidency tasked with monitoring and evaluation.

Mthethwa is replaced by Nkosinathi Nhleko, the director-general of Labour, Radebe by Michael Masutha and Cwele by David Mahlobo.

At least three new ministers were rewarded: Faith Muthambi will drive the government’s new propaganda-machine; Buti Manemela is deputy minister in the presidency and Lewellyn Landers deputy minister of International Relations.

The trio formed part of the parliamentary ad hoc committee who delayed any work on the Nkandla issue long enough for it to be poised over the rubbish bin by the new Parliament.

Expectations of a smaller cabinet did not materialise as there are now 71 ministers and deputies.

South Africa will also get a new minister of Finance. As expected Pravin Gordhan has been is redeployed. As the new minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs he has to fix the struggling municipalities in South Africa with an eye on the municipal elections in 2016.

Nhlanhla Nene, his deputy, is South Africa’s first African minister of Finance.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk also lost this post as minister of Tourism and is replaced by Derek Hanekom.

The contentious Tina Joemat-Petterson is replaced as minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry by Senzeni Zokwana, the former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Freedom Front PLus leader Dr Pieter Mulder is no longer a deputy minister of Agriculture, and is replaced by the former national police commissioner Bheki Cele, who Zuma previously sacked.

Gugile Nkwinti remains as Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, but his department now has two deputy ministers.

Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of the ANC, is also as expected, South Africa’s deputy president.

Not only ministers were shuffled, but Zuma announced several departmental changes.

Seven new state departments will be created or amalgamated from other departments.

The departments of Justice and Correctional Services will in future be one department, under the relatively unknown Mike Masutha.

The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities has been divided into two, with the staff of children and people with disabilities to continue under the Department of Social Development while a new Department for Women’s Affairs in the Presidency has been created under Susan Shabangu as its minister.

The old department of Communications now becomes Telecommunications and Postal Services, under Siyabonga Cwele while a new umbrella department of State Communications has been created to control the Independent Communications Authority (Icasa), the SABC, the Government Communication and Information services (GCIS) and BrandSA, under Faith Mutambi.

Most of the other departments keep their ministers.

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