CAPE TOWN — There’s some real excitement at the prospects of a reformed cabinet under incoming President Cyril Ramaphosa. Just the mention of names like Pravin Gordhan and Naledi Pandor in an allegedly leaked list of Cabinet nominees – and the absence of some seriously corrupt current wreckers – is enough to get the rand into the starting blocks. Here Donwald Pressly uses his long-standing contacts and inside sources in national politics to construct a fascinating glimpse of what might happen under Cyril Ramaphosa. Just how quickly a reformed cabinet is appointed of course depends on the former trade union and corporate executive guru’s adroitness in managing the existing political mix to get the troublesome incumbent out. He’ll be helped by a potent mix of legal rulings that render his adversary more vulnerable than he’s ever been, and hindered by the very glue that has held the ANC together; the compromised evenly-split NEC and top six. But we have a new national boss on the wing and that’s pretty damn uplifting. – Chris Bateman
African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa is no longer constrained by a 2007 resolution which restricts him to appoint his prospective cabinet members from the ANC national executive committee. According to a December resolution there will be a limit to this number, which will allow him to appoint ‘outsiders’. While City Press at the weekend predicted that Ramaphosa wanted to take over government as soon as possible, a decision on how to deal with a possible recall for President Jacob Zuma could mean that it may be a while before Ramaphosa is in the position to appoint a cabinet.
One proposal is that he will allow the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to take charge as an interim president. If there is a vote of no confidence in President Zuma – because he refuses to resign – this route may be followed. However, if Zuma leaves voluntarily, Ramaphosa may soon see himself elected as the nation’s president.
There is a list of possible cabinet appointments doing the rounds among ANC supporters. It has David Mabuza as the nation’s deputy president. However, City Press believes that Mabuza, the Mpumalanga premier, wants to devote himself to the work of the ANC, where he is the new deputy president.
Malusi Gigaba looks set to be given the boot as Finance Minister, but will go back to Home Affairs. He will, according to the list, be replaced by Zweli Mkhize, who topped the list for the ANC national executive committee – after he withdrew as a candidate for the party presidency. Mkhize had held the post of treasurer general of the ANC from 2012 to 2017.
Another prominent ANC NEC member, former SA Reserve Governor Tito Mboweni may make a comeback in an economic cluster ministry role. Significantly this week he has been urging ANC supporters to attend the East London ANC 106th anniversary celebration on the 13th of January – where Ramaphosa will deliver the delayed January the 8th statement. The ANC was founded on the 8th of January 1912.
Pravin Gordhan looks set to make a return to cabinet, but this time at Public Enterprises – where he will take political charge of the troubles at Eskom, the SAA, and Denel. Gordhan was fired by Zuma in March 2017 as Finance Minister. He said at the time his firing was based on absolute nonsense: “This … so-called intelligence report, which said, among others, that the two of us (deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was also fired) and (treasury) director general Fuzile Lungisa are involved in a massive conspiracy to undermine this country. If you read it, it’s absolute nonsense. This is not the basis on which you fire (people).” Gordhan has been sitting on the national assembly public enterprises committee since his axing.
Derek Hanekom, who was also fired last year by President Zuma, may go back to his old Tourism portfolio.
If Mabuza is out of the running to be the nation’s deputy president, that may open the door to Ramaphosa’s original choice of incumbent Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor in this role – but he may make room for Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu who was defeated by Mabuza for the ANC deputy presidency.
So, will Ramaphosa hope to achieve a turn around with a (partly) Gupta appointed cabinet, or will he take over in January?
— Solly MOENG (@Solitoliquido) December 28, 2017
However, the circulated list puts Sisulu in the foreign ministry, which is called International Relations and Cooperation. If so, she would replace Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who strongly backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the party presidency. Mashabane does not make it on to the circulated list.
Joel Netshitenzhe, the cabinet spokesman under President Thabo Mbeki, is tipped for Minister in the Presidency. He significantly achieved a high position on the NEC list. If Mbete does not come in as acting president, she has apparently been earmarked as the Minister for Women.
Thulas Nxesi, a prominent member of the SA Communist Party which Ramaphosa is keen to reward with key cabinet positions – although the party did not fare well in the NEC elections at the elective conference in December – is tipped for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Ramaphosa must, once state president, reshuffle that cabinet.
— Sure Kamhunga (@sure_kamhunga) December 21, 2017
Angie Motshekga, who was defeated by Bathabile Dlamini as ANC Women’s League leader, looks set to remain Basic Education Minister, according to the cabinet list. Significantly Dlamini – an outspoken supporter of Dlamini-Zuma for the ANC presidency and as Social Development Minister the cabinet member responsible for the recent social grants debacle – does not appear on the circulated list.
The circulated list puts Dlamini-Zuma in the cabinet – in Dlamini’s Social Development portfolio. If that pans out it would be a delicious irony as Dlamini instructed Women’s League members to vote for Dlamini-Zuma.
If the circulated list is to believed, SACP secretary general, Blade Nzimande, looks set to come back to his old post, Higher Education. He was fired in October last year by President Jacob Zuma. Nzimande did not make it back to the ANC NEC. However, he and his party were outspoken in his support for the Ramaphosa presidency campaign in the ANC. So he is likely to be rewarded.
Ramaphosa, during the internal ANC presidential campaign, punted the need to keep Cosatu and the SACP in the tripartite alliance. Significantly in the Metsimaholo (Sasolburg) municipality – where a general by-election was held at the end of last year – the SACP threw the weight of its three councillors behind the ANC. The ANC and SACP will now run the municipality.
That by-election may have been the first and last time that the SACP stood against the ANC in an election.
(The Cape Messenger directs readers to: http://ewn.co.za/2017/12/
The ANC’s outgoing economic transformation chairperson Enoch Godongwane looks set to take Ebrahim Patel’s Economic Development portfolio, with Patel shifting to Transport.
Here is the full circulated list:
President – Cyril Ramaphosa (currently Deputy President)
Deputy President – David Mabuza (Mpumalanga Premier and now ANC deputy president)
Minister in the Presidency – Joel Netshitenze (former government spokesman under President Thabo Mbeki)
Women – Baleka Mbete (currently Speaker)
Agriculture – Thulas Nxesi
Arts & Culture – Dipuo Letsatsi Duba
Basic Education – Angie Motshekga
Higher Education + Training – Blade Nzimande
Communications – Jackson Mthembu
Cooperative Governance -Mondli Gungubela
Defence & Mil Veterans – Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula / Thabang Makwetla
Economic Development – Enoch Godongwane
Energy – Senzo Mchunu/ Dikeledi Magadzi (depending on the SG issue)
Environmental Affairs – David Mahlobo
Finance – Zweli Mkhize
Health – Aaron Motsoaledi
Home Affairs – Malusi Gigaba
Human Settlements – Kenny Moimang
International Relations – Lindiwe Sisulu
Justice – Mathole Motshekga/ Andries Nel
Labour – Thandi Modise
Mineral Resources – Ebrahim Rasool
Police – Jeff Radebe
Public Enterprises – Pravin Gordhan (former Finance Minister)
Public Services – Ayanda Dlodlo
Public Works – Thoko Didiza
Rural Development – Gugile Nkwinti
Science & Technology – Naledi Pandor
Small Business Development – Lindiwe Zulu
Social Development – Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Sport & Recreation – Fikile Mbalula
State Security – Bheki Cele
Telecommunications – Stella Ndabeni Abrahams
Tourism – Derek Hanekom
Trade & Industry – Rob Davies
Transport – Ebrahim Patel
Water and Sanitation – Lulu Johnson
- Donwald Pressly is the editor of Cape Messenger.