In a much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new home affairs, environmental affairs and communications ministers on Thursday.
He explained that after the late former environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa passed away in September, at 61 years of age, and the fact that Malusi Gigaba finally resigned in the “interests of the country” a reshuffle was necessary.
The new minister of home affairs will be Siyabonga Cwele, formerly of telecommunications and postal services.
Nomvula Mokonyane will be the new minister of environmental affairs, leaving the department of communications.
Stella Ndabeni Abrahams is the new minister of communications. Ramaphosa said he had decided to merge the department of telecommunications and postal services into Abrahams’ department. They would, however, they remain separate departments until after next year’s elections, while reporting to her.
He also announced the resignation of deputy minister of energy Thembi Majola, with effect from next year. He said she was leaving for personal and family reasons.
Questions were not allowed following the announcement, as it was “ceremonial” in nature. The new ministers were immediately sworn in.
There was speculation ahead of the announcement that Ramaphosa would also give Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini her marching orders, particularly because today is the deadline for him to decide on whether to oppose the DA’s legal challenge against his decision to keep Dlamini in cabinet. However, this did not happen.
Originally, the DA was opposing both Dlamini and Gigaba’s retention after both ministers were found by the courts to have lied under oath.
The DA is seeking an order declaring the appointment of Dlamini “unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid” after the Constitutional Court found her reckless and negligent in the social grants debacle when she was minister of social development.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers. Background reporting, Ray Mahlaka, Moneyweb)