Zuma’s team down to business over breakfast at new venue

2009-05-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Same breakfast, new venue.

The venue for President Jacob Zuma’s debut as cabinet chairman yesterday had to be changed from the customary cabinet chamber in Tuynhuys to the Goeie Hoop building next to the president’s office because the cabinet is now too large for the usual venue.

While the Goeie Hoop Hall, which was used as the president’s council’s meeting room in the days of the Tricameral Parliament, is now the new cabinet chamber, the fare was the same as before, and ministers feasted on the buffet breakfast.

While some of their colleagues avoided the buffet table, ministers Membathisi Mdladlana (Labour) and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Correctional Services) tucked into the pork sausages and eggs.

Near them, planning commission head Trevor Manuel stood with his hands in his pockets doing the early morning sunshine shuffle, soon to be joined by Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin.

Manuel, a favourite target of the ANC’s leftwing allies when he was Finance minister, and Cronin, a communist known for his reserved nature, became involved in a protracted — albeit one-sided — conversation. While it was unclear what they were talking about, Manuel was going to a lot of trouble to explain something very carefully.

Cronin was not the only red to tackle Manuel. Dr Blade Nzimande, the minister of Higher Education, also spent a long time at the planning boss’s table, listening to Manuel with an earnest expression on his face.

Zuma took his seat early at one end of the chamber. where his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe (who led the previous cabinet meeting), soon joined him.

The new head of state did not participate in the zealous embraces and handshaking of the rest of the executive authority members.

Tokyo Sexwale (Housing) wandered around with a broad smile, welcoming every black suit; Pravin Gordhan (Finance) reminded Richard Baloyi (Public Service and Administration) that they have to discuss public servants’ salaries; while Sue van der Merwe (deputy, International Relations), wearing a snazzy suit, dispensed kisses all round.

An uncomfortable Dr Pieter Mulder, deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, also stepped away from the festive atmosphere to pay a lone visit to the tea table. He later briefly consulted his departmental head, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

CAPE TOWN — The new cabinet held its first fortnightly meeting under President Jacob Zuma yesterday.

Briefing the media afterwards, government spokesman Themba Maseko said the primary purpose was to prepare for the cabinet lekgotla from May 26 to 28.

Maseko said the cabinet also noted the progress and challenges in implementing the new government structure, and approved a proposal on setting up cabinet committees and clusters. The clusters are infrastructure development; economic sectors and employment; human development; social protection and community development; international co-operation, trade, and security; governance and administration; and justice, crime prevention and security. The clusters had started work yesterday, he said. — Sapa.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.