President Cyril Ramaphosa is caught in a dilemma about appointing a new Cabinet because many of his loyalists don’t qualify to be in the executive as they are not members of parliament.
The situation has forced him to carry on for a while with the ministers he inherited from his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
He has had to delay the announcement of the new Cabinet, which he promised “would be announced by the president at an appropriate time”.
Although he did not reveal the reason for this, Ramaphosa could be playing for time until potential members of his dream team are ready to be appointed.
The law allows the president to co-opt no more than two ministers from outside National Assembly … as happened with the finance minister under Nelson Mandela, Derek Keys.
Ramaphosa’s job has been made difficult by the fact that the ANC did not experience a breakaway during the recent Zuma recall, as was the case during the Thabo Mbeki removal.
Although several members of Mbeki’s Cabinet and some ANC MPs resigned in protest at his removal, then caretaker president Kgalema Motlanthe did not need to appoint a new executive council but just needed to plug the gaps.
Also, the 2009 election made it easy for Zuma, who did not inherit a Cabinet but appointed his own from scratch.
If Ramaphosa were to reappoint former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas to finance, and do the same with other non-parliamentarians, he would have to ensure they became MPs first or would have to follow the co-option route for at least two.
Others in this category are ANC deputy president David Mabuza, who was already earmarked as Ramaphosa’s deputy in the Cabinet, party national chairperson Gwede Mantashe and NEC members Zweli Mkhize, Senzo Mchunu and Enoch Godongwana.
The office of the ANC chief whip confirmed yesterday that there were five vacancies of ANC MPs in the National Assembly.
Party caucus spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli said the procedure was to fill the vacancies according to the existing lists of ANC MPs, where the next member on the list would automatically be appointed.