News24

NNP deputy ministers appointed

2002-11-04 12:22

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki has appointed two senior New National Party members as deputy ministers, dashing the party's hopes of a full Cabinet post.

NNP national executive director Renier Schoeman has been appointed to deputy minister of health, while Western Cape MEC for environment affairs and development planning, David Malatsi, becomes the deputy minister of social development.

The appointments are in line with the co-operation pact between the African National Congress and the NNP, which saw the NNP withdraw from the Democratic Alliance, and a new coalition government between the NNP and ANC in the Western Cape.

The deputy ministerial posts appear to be a reward for the NNP, which managed to attract enough Cape Town councillors to its ranks after defection legislation kicked in to ensure the DA lost control of the key unicity to an ANC-NNP coalition.

In a statement, the government said Mbeki wanted to strengthen the executive's focus on the eradication of poverty and the provision of health services to South Africans.

"The appointments also reflect the broadening of co-operation among various political formations at national government level.

Involvement

"Such co-operation is premised on meeting the challenge of improving the quality of life of all South Africans, as well as ensuring the involvement of the widest spectrum of political parties in the practical tasks of reconstruction and development," the statement said.

The appointments were made in consultation with the leaders of the NNP, and with those of the Inkatha Freedom Party and Azapo, who are already partners with the ANC in national government.

The two new deputy ministers would be sworn in at noon at Pretoria's Union Buildings, at a ceremony attended by Acting President Jacob Zuma, the statement said.

"President Mbeki is confident that these leaders, who have offered their services at national government level to the practical task of rebuilding our society, will acquit themselves well in their new responsibilities. He wishes them all the best in this endeavour."

Meanwhile, NNP leader and Western Cape premier Marthinus van Schalkwyk thanked Mbeki for appointing the pair.

"These two appointments give further content to the ANC and NNP's co-operation agreement, and the NNP is ready to accept further co-responsibility in this way as co-builders of our country.

Key portfolios

"These two portfolios are key portfolios, which affect the lives of every South African, and the NNP will work hard to ensure that the quality of life of all South Africans is improved," he said.

Each implementation phase of the NNP and ANC's co-operation pact was opening the door further for minority communities to be part of South Africa's political mainstream in the country. Both of these gentlemen are competent managers, and it will not take long for them to get a thorough grasp of their portfolios.

Van Schalkwyk said the two appointments called for further shifts and appointments in government spheres and party structures.

Agriculture and tourism MEC Johan Gelderblom would take over Malatsi's provincial portfolio in an acting capacity, while any further appointments in the Western Cape executive would be announced in due course.

Malatsi would soon become a member of the National Assembly, while Schoeman would vacate his post as national executive director.