File picture: PARLIAMENT OF RSA
File picture: PARLIAMENT OF RSA

With a possible Cabinet reshuffle on the cards‚ one political analyst says incoming president Cyril Ramaphosa cannot entirely have his way with who goes and who stays.

Ralph Mathekga said as things were after President Jacob Zuma’s resignation speech on Wednesday night‚ the ANC was seemingly split over the decision to recall Zuma, and Ramaphosa would need to somewhat redeem himself as a candidate who is pushing for unity within the party.

“He will therefore need a compromised Cabinet to accommodate all. He may want to get rid of [Finance Minister Malusi] Gigaba but he cannot for example hire [former Finance Minister Pravin] Gordhan. This is because Gordhan is on the far extreme of the antiZuma camp and Ramaphosa is trying to achieve unity. Unity is about not reinstating some of the extreme sides of the [divide]. If you want unity‚ you need to find moderates in between the camps — people who will be respected on either side‚” said Mathekga.

He stressed that Ramaphosa could, however, make a statement with one or two portfolios that would define his agenda‚ but he could not entirely root out the pro-Zuma camp.

Earlier this morning‚ Ramaphosa was photographed with former finance minister Trevor Manuel‚ fuelling speculation that Manuel could be making a comeback to politics.

Mathekga said this would not be a good idea. “You do not reinstate conflict by bringing in the same soldiers that fought a previous battle and besides‚ people like Manuel are doing well in civil society‚” he said.

Mathekga would not say who he thought would be suitable for which portfolio‚ saying “names did not matter”.

“But a person like Naledi Pandor would make sense to keep. She worked well under Mbeki and under Zuma‚” adding that at no point did Pandor associate herself with an extreme pro-or anti-Zuma nor Mbeki camp.

“So it’s about how many Naledi Pandors can he find in the Cabinet‚” Mathekga said.

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo offered differing views‚ saying he expected “big changes to happen now that the captain had been replaced”.

Should Ramaphosa decide to do a Cabinet restructure‚ Khumalo predicted that the following ministers would be given the boot:

• Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba

• Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini

• Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane

• Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen

• Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi

• Energy Minister David Mahlobo

“We definitely need new blood in the Cabinet. We need people who will be associated with the decisions which were taken in the last ANC conference‚” Khumalo said.

Khumalo said it was good for Ramaphosa to be seen mingling with the likes of Manuel. “I think strategically‚ it is a good move for Ramaphosa to seen in the same company as Manuel‚ people with reputable character‚” he said‚ adding that it bolstered confidence in Ramaphosa.

But could this signal a comeback for Manuel to the Cabinet?

Khumalo said it was possible that Manuel could make a return to politics but it was highly unlikely that he would return to the finance minister post.

According to Khumalo‚ people who would make good replacements for Gigaba are former finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni and former treasurer-general of the ANC Zweli Mkhize.

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