Two new ministries as Ramaphosa introduces Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as the electricity minister

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa fired three ministers from his Cabinet and removed one deputy minister. 
  • Kgosientsho Ramokgopa will be South Africa's first electricity minister, entrusted with turning around the fortunes of the ailing Eskom.
  • Ramaphosa announced the changes on Monday evening following a lengthy consultative process.

Three ministers were fired, and two ministries were introduced as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced significant changes to his Cabinet. 

After 22 years and leading eight government departments, Lindiwe Sisulu's tenure as a Cabinet member came to an end on Monday along with ministers Nathi Mthethwa and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. 

Also booted from the Cabinet was public enterprises deputy minister Phumulo Masualle, who campaigned extensively for Ramaphosa’s competitor, former health Minister Zweli Mkhize, leading up to the ANC conference in December. 

Announcing the changes, Ramaphosa said: “All members of the executive have been directed to focus on those agreed actions that will make a meaningful change now [and] that will also enable real progress within the next year.”

He added that all parts of government would focus on those issues that concern South Africans the most, which include load shedding, unemployment, poverty, the rising cost of living, crime and corruption.

Ramaphosa acknowledged the concerns by South Africans on the time it had taken to make changes to the executive but said these were necessitated by his having to meet the constitutional requirements before making the appointments. 

"Apologies for keeping you waiting for much longer than it was necessary," said Ramaphosa. 

Sisulu, who served under all the democratic presidents, found herself in the cold. This was not unexpected as she had in recent months publicly undermined Ramaphosa. 

She has served in the following portfolios: Intelligence, housing, defence, public service and administration, human settlements, international relations and cooperation, water and sanitation, and, finally, tourism.  

AS IT HAPPENED | Cabinet reshuffle: Mashatile new deputy president, Ramokgopa electricity minister

Speaking to News24 on the sidelines of the State of the Nation Address in February, Sisulu said she was not worried about not making it back to Ramaphosa's executive. 

"I am born in the ANC, I will remain in the ANC, that is who I am. I did not fight this fight to be a minister, I fought this struggle all of my life. Please don't confuse me with the position that I hold," she told News24 at the time. 

Sisulu has been replaced by Patricia de Lille as tourism minister, who was previously minister of public works. 

Yet another minister to lose his job was sports, arts, and culture's Nathi Mthethwa. Mthethwa, who was under fire last year when he announced that the department would erect a 100-metre, R22 million flag, was replaced by staunch Ramaphosa ally Zizi Kodwa. Kodwa was previously Minister in the Presidency.

Kodwa was found by the Zondo Commission report to be “beholden” and financially indebted to a former executive of tech company EOH, which allegedly donated millions of rands to the ANC in exchange for City of Johannesburg tender awards.

Another long-serving minister who got the boot was Nkoana-Mashabane who was replaced by another senior Cabinet member, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. 

Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is the country’s first minister in the Presidency responsible for electricity. He had been in the presidency as head of investment and infrastructure. 

Paul Mashatile was announced as deputy president of the country replacing David Mabuza who resigned before his term in office ended. 

Sindisiwe Chikunga has been promoted from deputy transport minister to take over from Fikile Mbalula as minister of transport. Mbalula was elected as the ANC’s secretary-general. The new deputy minister of transport is Lisa Mangcu. 

Newly sworn-in Member of Parliament Maropene Ramokgopa will be the minister in the Presidency responsible for planning, monitoring, and evaluation, while Khumbudzo Ntshavheni is the new minister in the Presidency, replacing Mondli Gungubele who has moved to communications and digital technologies.

Having recently lost out in the race to be ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson, Sihle Zikalala is now the new minister of public works and infrastructure. 

Explaining the changes, Ramaphosa said he “sought to balance the need for new skills and capabilities to drive the agenda that we outlined in the State of the Nation Address with the important task of ensuring stability and continuity in the work of government”.

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