Shameful 10: From Fikile Mbalula to Faith Muthambi – ministers that Cyril fired

JOHANNESBURG — Analysts have bemoaned that Malusi Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini survived President Cyril Ramaphosa’s axe on Monday night. But when you take a closer look at the full list of who’s in and who’s out – it’s clear that Ramaphosa largely got his way in last night’s reshuffle. For starters, the return of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister is a major win for Ramaphosa. Then there’s Pravin Gordhan’s deployment as Public Enterprises Minister. However, what makes the reshuffle that much more interesting is the list of people who Ramaphosa fired. It reads like the who’s who of State Capture. Take a look at the list posted below. – Gareth van Zyl

Zupta State Capture Cabinet Dinner. More magic available at

The ministers that Cyril Ramaphosa fired:

Fikile Mbalula
Fikile Mbalula briefs the media on a significant breakthrough achieved regarding the criminal underworld, 2 February 2018.

Many on social media joked on Monday night that Mbalula – who once proudly put the description ‘fear fokkol’ on his Twitter profile – is now the ‘Minister of Fokkol’. Mbalula was made the Minister of Police in Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet. He was also previously a former deputy minister of police, a member of the national executive committee of the ANC and former leader of the ANC Youth League. His outspoken and brash nature divided many a South African.

Faith Muthambi
File Photo: Faith Muthambi closes the Africa Editors Forum on 25 October 2016.

Muthambi, who was previously the Communications Minister under Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet, became notorious for going against her own party on the set-top box encryption debate. That move disastrously resulted in court action from the industry as well as a multi-year delay in South Africa’s digital migration efforts. Subsequently, South Africa has fallen behind the rest of the globe when it comes to rolling out faster 4G mobile broadband as networks have to scramble over limited spectrum. Despite these monumental failures, Zuma promoted her to Minister of Public Service and Administration. In her capacity there, she came under fire for hiring several family members.

Mosebenzi Zwane
Mosebenzi Zwane speaks on the opening day of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Zwane was the Minister of Mineral Resources from 2015 until 2018. He rose to notoriety amid his links to the Guptas and his creation of a controversial mining charter in which he failed to consult key stakeholders. Ramaphosa, though, put the mining charter on ice last week in the first sign that Zwane would fail to survive. In his last days in Cabinet, Zwane also skipped several key parliamentary briefings, sparking the ire of MPs.

Des van Rooyen
Former Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Des van Rooyen

Dubbed the ‘Weekend Special’, Des van Rooyen went from backbencher to Minister of Finance for a few days when then President Jacob Zuma fired the respected Nhlanhla Nene. Amid shockwaves in the markets, Zuma was forced to backtrack and redeploy van Rooyen as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The ‘Weekend Special’ was also known for his close links to the Guptas.

Lynne Brown
Zapiro’s take on Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s redeployment. more of his magic available at

Brown was the Minister of Public Enterprises and her ineptitude came to light amid a gruelling parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom late last year where she came across as dishonest. She was heavily criticised for her handling of crises at Eskom. To add insult to injury, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in a report last week said that Brown misled Parliament in her assertion that there were no other contracts of engagement concluded between Eskom and Trillian.

David Mahlobo
Former Energy Minister David Mahlobo

Described as the unofficial ‘Prime Minister’ under ex-President Jacob Zuma, Mahlobo developed a reputation as a State Security Minister who ruthlessly protected his boss using government agencies. Zuma then shifted Mahlobo to the role of Energy Minister in a perceived move to fast-track a controversial nuclear deal with the Russians.

Bongani Bongo
Swearing-in ceremony of Bongani Bongo as Minister of State Security.

Bongo was another backbencher whom Zuma promoted. Described by some insiders as brash and arrogant, Bongo’s role as State Security Minister came under the spotlight amid his lack of experience in the space. A known Zuma supporter, it’s unclear what the future holds for him now.

Hlengiwe Mkhize
Minister of Higher Education and Training Hlengiwe Mkhize (R) briefs media on the 2018 registration process.

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize was briefly Minister of Higher Education and Training. She replaced Blade Nzimande as part of Jacob Zuma’s purge of those critical of him. As former Minister of Home Affairs, Mkhize famously said in 2017 that the Guptas – who are now wanted by law enforcement agencies – should be “treated with dignity“.

Nkosinathi Nhleko
Former Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko

Nhleko was Minister of Public Works. Prior to this though, he was Minister of Police. And according to forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, Nhleko and former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza brought a number of “vexatious and meritless cases against persons who sought to uncover state capture in South Africa” with the help of law firm Hogan Lovells.

Joe Maswanganyi
Former Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi.

The now-former Transport Minister, Maswanganyi, was said to have previously mobilised a large chunk of the Limpopo province to vote for Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s Mangaung elective conference, according to the Mail & Guardian. Late last year, the DA asked the Public Protector to investigate Maswanganyi for allegedly “wilfully misleading” Parliament about a meeting with the Prasa Board. Maswanganyi stood accused of stalling on the new board for the parastatal.

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