Cabinet could be reduced by as many as nine departments and 15 deputy ministries

2019-05-15 06:02
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Adrian de Kock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

President Cyril Ramaphosa could reduce his national executive by as many as nine departments and ministries when he announces the reconfiguration of his Cabinet soon.

Although there is no official word from the Union Buildings on when Ramaphosa will announce the changes to his executive, furious horse trading and discussions are taking place inside Luthuli House and the broader governing alliance on who should be sent to Cabinet.

Various unverified lists are being circulated, with Ramaphosa under pressure to omit controversial ministers including Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane.

According to a number of sources in the governing party and broader alliance, it appears as if Ramaphosa looks set to take control of the finance, economics and security cluster, with allies proposed to take charge of vital ministries. 

Key among those seem to be the deployment of Senzo Mchunu to state security, a department that will return to its former identity as the department of intelligence as recommended by the inquiry into intelligence services led by Sydney Mufamadi. Mchunu is a Ramaphosa ally and was the president's choice to become the ANC’s secretary-general at the party's Nasrec conference in 2017.

Senzo Mchunu could go to the department of state security, that will in all likelihood be renamed the department of intelligence.

Ronald Lamola, one of the rising stars of the party (who is a lawyer by trade and manages his own firm in Pretoria), could well become minister of justice and would be responsible for overseeing repairs to the battered prosecutions system alongside Shamila Batohi, the national director of public prosecutions.

And Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy is again being touted as a possible replacement for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, who has been cagey about his desire to return to National Treasury.

The Department of Economic Development could also fall away and return under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry, where it used to be located as a directorate.

ANC NEC member David Masondo is rumoured to be lined up to take over at the DTI's campus from long-serving incumbent Rob Davies.

MPs will be sworn in during a special session of the National Assembly next week, when Ramaphosa will also be elected head of state. His inauguration takes place three days later. His current term as president will not count as a full term of office and he remains eligible to serve two terms, as per the Constitution.

The appointment of Cabinet is the prerogative of the president, but he will only do so after consultation with the ANC's leadership and discussions with the party's alliance partners, the SACP, Cosatu and Sanco.


Ronald Lamola, during an interview with News24, is being mentioned as a possible minister of justice. (News24)

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo confirmed to News24 the organisation is preparing a formal presentation to the ANC ahead of the Cabinet announcement.

"The most important aspect for the SACP is that the Cabinet must be credible and, ideally, be accepted even outside of the ANC and alliance. We must have ministers who are competent and credible," he said.

Ramaphosa, who reshuffled the Cabinet he inherited from former president Jacob Zuma, currently presides over an executive of 34 ministers and 34 departments, as well as 34 deputy ministers (some departments have two, others none).

After coming into office in 2018 he promised to audit the size and effectiveness of the executive, appointing a task team to advise him on a future reconfiguration.

In addition to the reduction of departments and ministries from 34 to 25, as many as 15 deputy ministries could also be culled from government's bloated payroll, according to discussions in certain ANC quarters.

Some of the other rumoured departmental merges include agriculture, forestries and fisheries forming one department with land reform and rural development to become agriculture and land reform, while tourism could merge with environmental affairs, higher education and training with science and technology and energy with mineral affairs.

Many of these mergers will see departments return to their configuration before Zuma became president in 2009.

After his election he split various departments into two and renamed a raft of ministries, including foreign affairs which became international relations and cooperation, intelligence became state security while local government was renamed co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  politics

Join the conversation! 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.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.