President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson and former general manager at Brand South Africa Tyrone Seale this weekend said speculation of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle was all hot air.
When reminded that the former National of Union of Mineworkers (NUM) secretary general and businessman had himself dropped strong hints during the state of the nation address on Friday night, Seale reminded The Citizen that Ramaphosa had in fact never given a date on when this reshuffle would happen.
What is public knowledge is that the former deputy president is not in favour of the current size of Cabinet, which when counting deputy ministers [who are not attendees of Cabinet meetings] stands at a staggering 72. He is also likely to go for experience and expertise in his choice of ministers to turn around a government that has in recent times lost the appetite to serve the interests of the majority of South Africans – the poor and the indigent.
When the Cabinet reshuffle does occur, it is a foregone conclusion that some departments will be collapsed and merged with existing ones. Many analysts have this weekend questioned the logic of having departments of economic development separated from small business development, or the department of telecommunications and postal services fragmented from the department of communications.
In the past 72 hours, a document purporting to be a parliamentary notice of “new members” to be sworn in on Monday ignited further speculation that these are the new blood Ramaphosa aims to inject into his Cabinet. By law, Ramaphosa is allowed to appoint one person who is not a member of Parliament a minister as well as a Parliamentary Counsellor to serve as his emissary during Parliament sittings.
The President of the Republic of South Africa, in terms of the country’s Constitution, is not a member of Parliament. He is required to to appear in Parliament regularly to answer questions. Thabo Mbeki settled on a quarterly appearance and appointed a counsellor, who became his ears and eyes during normal sittings. Former state president Jacob Zuma chose to discontinue this role while Ramaphosa was ‘Leader of Government Business.’
It is not clear, due to the absence of solid information, if the document is authentic or whether they will be joining Cabinet. Below is a short bio and what role will be suitable to them as per Ramaphosa’s own strict criteria.
Dr Zweli Mkhize is a medical doctor and former KZN premier who managed Luthuli House finances. We have a knowledgeable minister of health in Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, but the ANC is known for “redeployment as part of its DNA,” as Jackson Mthembu has said. Mkhize may be useful as a minister of finance, health, social development and with administrative skills may capably take over from Faith Muthambi at Public Service and Administration.
Ronald Lamola is a former deputy president of the ANC Youth League. He cut a lonely figure during his steadfast campaign to lobby the NEC to pronounce against Zuma. The minister in the presidency needs an energetic young person to oversee the rudderless National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). With his crusade against corruption, perhaps he should be given the task of cleaning up the mess at Water and Sanitation.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya is a Pan Africanist and writer and formerly a member of the ANCYL NEC. She is a founder of Africa Unmasked and an MBA candidate. The department of arts of culture deserves a rabble rouser after being neglected for many years. It needs a strategic arts operator who can implement arts and culture development projects away from the fruitless vanity projects the department is known for delivering relentlessly annually.
David Masondo is a member of the NEC and CEO of the Automative Industry Development Centre. He is best known for tabling and leading motions to remove Zuma at the party’s highest structure meetings. Should Naledi Pandor be moved to a senior executive position, Science and Technology can do with someone of his chutzpah. If not, he could be given Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to restore corporate governance there.
Senzo Mchunu is a former premier who graduated in International Relations. Here is a perfect candidate for a Parliamentary Counsellor, or alternatively to relieve the “sleepist” Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at International Relations and Cooperation. Other departments crying out for leadership include Energy and Labour, and with the ANC resolute on “expropriation without compensation,” Land Reform will need a tried-and-tested ANC leader.
Vukani Mdabe was Ramaphosa’s KZN campaign convenor and the mayor of Ilembe District Municipality. Little is known about this comrade but there are still departments such as mineral resources that will need a new minister.
Zingiswa Losi is a Cosatu leader who herself ascended to one of the top positions in the trade union federation under controversial circumstances. In an event that the department of Women survives the chop, female empowerment can be given a boost with a radical leader. The country’s most tainted service delivery department, Social Development, can also benefit from a leader who has long spoken out against corruption.
Zizi Kodwa is a former communicator in President Jacob Zuma’s office during his first tenure. He momentarily worked as a marketing manager for Gauteng Film Commission before being elected into the NEC and serving as the party’s spokesperson. Kodwa is a a mover and shaker and will be at home in departments such as a Sports and Recreation, Tourism, Home Affairs and perhaps even a candidate at the moribund Arts and Culture.