President Cyril Ramaphosa cut a poker face on Wednesday night when he announced that, despite the adverse findings by the Office of the Public Protector, Pravin Gordhan would continue to play a role in his new Cabinet as minister of public enterprises.
Ramaphosa’s new 28-member Cabinet team, expected to lead South Africa to the “new dawn” in the sixth administration post democracy, featured a mix of youthful energy, experience, a balance of gender parity and Gordhan.
Deputy President David Mabuza also continues as the country’s number two, putting to rest speculation about his future in government.
Ramaphosa had been closely watched for how he handled the Gordhan dilemma after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that the former Sars commissioner acted improperly in his approval of an early retirement for his friend and former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Pillay, who had also been in need of funds to pay for his children’s studies, was subsequently offered his old job back on a contract basis, and the contract later extended.
Mkhwebane had directed that Ramaphosa discipline Gordhan, who has since taken the report for judicial review, but in law Ramaphosa had the obligation to implement the remedial action until it was set aside by the court – which has not happened.
The new faces in Cabinet include: Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Ronald Lamola; Jackson Mthembu as minister in the Presidency; Barbara Creecy as environmental affairs, forestry and fisheries minister; Senzo Mchunu as public service and administration minister; and former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau as deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
Some of the surprise announcements were: Good leader and former DA mayor in Cape Town Patricia De Lille as the new minister of public works and infrastructure development; Khumbudzo Ntshavheni as the minister of small business development; David Masondo as deputy finance minister; ANC Youth League Leader Njabulo Nzuza as deputy minister of home affairs; Cassel Mathale as deputy police minister; former Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini as deputy minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development; Thembi Siweya as deputy minister in the presidency; Phumulo Masualle as deputy minister of public enterprises; Fish Mahlalela as deputy tourism minister and the return of former state security minister David Mahlobo as deputy minister of human settlements, water and sanitation.
Old faces making a return to Cabinet include: Naledi Pandor (international relations and cooperation), Fikile Mbalula (transport), Ebrahim Patel (trade and industry), Ayanda Dlodlo (state security), Nathi Mthethwa (sports, arts and culture), Lindiwe Zulu (social development), Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities), Bheki Cele (police), Gwede Mantashe (mineral resources and energy), Lindiwe Sisulu (human settlements, water and sanitation), Aaron Motsoaledi (home affairs), Zweli Mkhize (health), Tito Mboweni (finance), Thulas Nxesi (employment and labour), Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (defence and military veterans), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (cooperative governance and traditional affairs), Stella Ndabeni (communications), Angie Motshekga (basic education) and Thoko Didiza (agriculture, land reform and rural development).
Six ministries have two deputy ministers including trade and industry, justice and correctional services, human settlements, water and sanitation, international relations and cooperation, cooperative governance and traditional affairs, and agriculture, land reform and rural development.
Ramaphosa said the new administration has a clear mandate to accelerate inclusive economic growth, improve government services, fight corruption and end state capture.
“To do that we need a capable, efficient and ethical government,” he said.
He said it was “important that we deploy people who are committed, capable, hard working and have integrity”, adding that he had considered experience, continuity, competence, generational mix and demographic mix and regional diversity.
“The people I’m appointing must realise that the expectations of South African people have never been higher and greater.”
Their performance would be closely monitored against specific outcomes, he said, including that all ministers and deputy ministers would sign performance agreements and be evaluated regularly.
Unsatisfactory implementation would lead to action, Ramaphosa said.