President Cyril Ramaphosa will rely heavily on his comrades from the former mass democratic and trade union movements to compose his anti-corruption cabinet.
While he would strive to have a unity cabinet, the new president would try to have people he could trust; those with impeccable track records in governance and with turn-around capabilities.
Besides former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who is a safe bet for his executive council, Ramaphosa’s former campaign strategist Enoch Godongwana is likely to have a prominent role to play in the economic cluster.
For years now, Godongwana had been the head of the ANC economic subcommittee and has massive experience on finances, having been the Eastern Cape MEC for finance. This former trade unionist, who was secretary-general of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, is among the longest serving members of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).
Prior to his deployment as MEC for finance in the Eastern Cape, Cosatu initially campaigned for Godongwana to replace then premier Raymond Mhlaba, but former ANC treasurer-general and chief whip Makhenkesi Stofile took the post.
Ramaphosa will be left with no choice but to announce his new cabinet this week if he is to appoint a new finance minister to get rid of the incumbent, Malusi Gigaba, as is demanded from many quarters.
In line with his campaign promise that people with track records of good governance should be given preference, the door is open for hard workers such as Godongwana, Gordhan and the latter’s former deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, as well as former tourism and the environmental affairs minister Derek Hanekom.
Ironically these politicians were all victims of former president Jacob Zuma’s purges.
Another likely star of the Ramaphosa administration is former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is already on Ramaphosa’s radar screen – not just for unity but for her unquestionable competency as a minister.
Dlamini-Zuma is credited for turning around Home Affairs and the Health Department, where she fought the tobacco industry to introduce crucial anti-smoking legislation.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said: “A few appointments would reflect ANC unity and it would make sense for him to appoint his former opponent, Dlamini-Zuma, to a senior position.” Silke said Ramaphosa would consider skills and competence above anything else.
“He would look for people of calibre and credibility and, clearly, talent because in the last five to ten years we had seen patronage as opposed to skills-based deployment, which has done massive damage in various departments,” Silke said.
Ramaphosa also pledged to promote the youth and ensure their elevation at all levels.
As former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa had already left Luthuli House, he was tipped as being lined up for a government position, along with former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola, while youth league veteran Lulu Johnson was also named.
Zuma’s opponents who may return are Health Minister Elias Motsoaledi, his deputy Joe Phaahla, as well as deputy minister of defence and military veterans Thabang Makwetla.
It is unclear who would be appointed as Ramaphosa’s presidential deputy between outgoing Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. But it wouldn’t surprise many if Mabuza gets the job. It is believed Mabuza was behind Ramaphosa’s victory as ANC president.
Besides, according to a Mpumalanga source, it would be suicidal for Ramaphosa to dump Mabuza, who is a strategist with popular support in Mpumalanga ANC structures, while Sisulu has no tangible constituency.
That Mabuza had to resign as premier of Mpumalanga was a clear indication of his pending redeployment as deputy president.