The Zuma team

2009-05-10 00:00

Cape Town — President Jacob Zuma unveiled his new cabinet yesterday, saying he has chosen a team that will help the government to achieve “visible, tangible socio-economic development” over the next five years.

There were a number of surprises as Zuma announced the creation of a few new ministries and the splitting and renaming of others.

Addressing the media yesterday, Zuma warned he will not tolerate laziness or incompetence and stressed the need for an “efficient, caring administration”, which must be accessible to the needs of the people.

In line with his commitment to unity and co-operation, Zuma’s cabinet includes key trade union players, an opposition leader and a top business tycoon.

Key among the changes in the government structure is the establishment of a National Planning Commission (NPC), based in the presidency and headed by Trevor Manuel, which will be responsible for ensuring a single national plan to which all spheres of government will adhere.

A monitoring and evaluation committee has also been created in the Presidency to monitor and evaluate the performance of government in all three spheres.

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has been appointed Deputy President.

The second minister in the Presidency, in charge of performance monitoring and evaluation as well as administration in the presidency, is the former Limpopo MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Collins Chabane.

The respected former SA Revenue Services commissioner since 1999, Pravin Gordhan, is to replace Manuel, while former Finance portfolio chairman in the National Assembly, Nhlanhla Nene, has been appointed Deputy Finance Minister.

In another surprise move, Health Minister Barbara Hogan has been moved to Public Enterprises and replaced by former Limpopo MEC for Education Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. The Foreign Affairs Ministry becomes the Ministry of International Relations and Co-operation and will be headed by former Limpopo MEC for Local Government and Housing, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and two deputy ministers, Ebrahim Ebrahim and Sue van der Merwe.

The Safety and Security Ministry will now be known as the Police Ministry, but keeps the same minister, Nathi Mthethwa, with former ANC Youth League leader Fikile Mbalula as deputy.

Gone from Zuma’s cabinet are former ministers Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (minister in the Presidency), Ngkonde Balfour (Correctional Services), Charles Nqakula (Defence) and Pallo Jordan (Arts). Top ANC member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is also excluded.

Former Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu replaces Nqakula as minister of a newly-named Defence and Military Veterans Ministry.

The other changes in government structure are the splitting of Minerals and Energy into two separate departments of Mining and of Energy, each with a minister.

The new minister of Mining is former deputy minister of Mining and Energy, Susan Shabangu, while former Northern Cape premier Dipuo Peters will head Energy.

Education will be split into separate ministries, one for Basic Education and the other for Higher Education and Training. The minister for Basic Education will be ANC Women’s League president and former Gauteng MEC Angie Motshekga, with former Justice Minister Enver Surty as deputy minister of Basic Education.

As widely predicted, SA Communist Party general-secretary Blade Nzimande is the new minister of Higher Education and Training.

Another change is that of the Housing Department, which becomes the Human Settlements Department, with Zuma saying yesterday the ministry will take a more “holistic” approach.

Gauteng businessman Tokyo Sexwale will head up the new department, with former Housing portfolio committee chair, Zou Kota, as his deputy.

A new department of Rural Development and Land Reform has been created, in line with Zuma’s decision to prioritise rural and land affairs in his government, with Joe Phaahla, former director-general of the government’s 2010 unit, as minister of that department.

In another key change, Water Affairs and Forestry becomes Water and Environmental Affairs, with former Minerals and Energy minister Buyelwa Sonjica as minister and Rejoice Mabhudafhasi as deputy.

Ebrahim Patel, the ultra-leftist general-secretary of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, has been appointed to head a new Economic Development Department, created to focus on economic policy-making.

The Zuma cabinet will also see the creation of a new Tourism Department, which was previously attached to the Environment Affairs portfolio. Former Tourism and Environment Affairs minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk will head up Tourism, with Thozile Xasa as his deputy.

Agriculture adds Fisheries and Forestry and will be headed by former Northern Cape MEC Tina Joemat-Peterson with Freedom Front leader Pieter Mulder as deputy minister.

The Provincial and Local Government Department becomes Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and will be headed up by former minister of Provincial and Local Government Sicelo Shicka with Yunus Carrim, former chairman of the Justice and Constitutional Development portfolio committee, as deputy.

A new ministry has been created for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability to emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for the vunerable groups in South Africa. This ministry will be headed by National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) president Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya.

Zuma reassured civil servants that they will not lose their jobs as a result of the changes in government structure, but also warned that “the era of hard work has begun”.

“Public servants who do their work diligently and efficiently have nothing to worry about,” Zuma said.

Questioned about the choice of former MEC Nkoana-Mashabane as International Relations minister, Zuma denied that the appointment was “strange”, saying the new minister is a “cadre of our movement who has been in the provinces and on the NEC for a while”.

“The ANC knows the strength of this comrade and her work in international affairs,” he said.

Asked about the appointment of Mulder as deputy Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Zuma said: “Dr Mulder is a South African. As we have said all along, we embrace co-operation with other political parties. This is not the first time we have had other parties working with us.”

Asked what his priority will be when focusing on the policy challenges ahead, Zuma joked: “The first thing I will do is drink my cup of rooibos tea, with honey and lemon.”

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