Siyabonga Cwele. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Siyabonga Cwele. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Telecommunications and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele will take over as home affairs minister after Malusi Gigaba resigned last week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, during a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, announced that he was moving Cwele to home affairs and merging the department of communications and telecommunication, under new minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Cwele was appointed telecommunications minister in May 2014, after serving as state security minister during former president Jacob Zuma’s first term in office. Cwele headed the state security department in the fallout of the so-called “spy tapes” scandal, which was used to drop the charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering against Zuma.

He was, at one point, a staunch supporter of Zuma, but in the run-up to the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference he shifted allegiance to Ramaphosa.

While Cwele was serving as state security minister, his wife Sheryl was convicted of drug trafficking and was jailed for 20 years. The Constitutional Court has since reduced her sentence to 12 years. In 2011, Cwele and his wife divorced.

Gigaba resigned on the brink of potentially being removed from the cabinet after court findings that he had lied under oath in the Fireblade Aviation matter. The public protector had also found that this amounted to a breach of the constitution and the Executive Ethics Code, and gave Ramaphosa 14 days to act against him.

He resigned as a minister and as an MP last week, saying he did so in the interests of the country and the ANC.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za