Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Post-apartheid SA’s longest-serving minister Jeff Radebe will not be returning to cabinet. 

“Having first served under Nelson Mandela, I am aware of the confidence and trust that was bestowed upon me as I served the people of this country,” Radebe said.

“Over the years, I have had incredible experiences and adventures, built up extraordinary collaborations which have turned into lifelong friendships, for which I am so thankful. In everything that I have done, I have tried to serve our country honourably, ethically, humbly and more importantly, justly,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his reconfigured cabinet on Wednesday night without his brother-in-law Radebe. Ramaphosa and Radebe are married to the Motsepe sisters Tshepo and Bridgette. The sisters are the siblings of billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe.

The president merged Radebe’s former energy ministry with that of mineral resources, appointing Gwede Mantashe to head the new ministry of mineral resources & energy.

Radebe served as minister of public works in Mandela’s cabinet and as minister of public enterprises, as well as minister of transport, under president Thabo Mbeki.

He served as minister of justice & constitutional development in Jacob Zuma’s first term as president and took over the position of minister in the presidency responsible for planning, monitoring & evaluation after the death of the incumbent Collins Chabane.

Radebe was moved to the energy portfolio after Ramaphosa’s first cabinet reshuffle in 2018.

Radebe has courted his fair share of controversy during his time in office. Earlier in 2019 , he defended SA’s $1bn involvement in oil exploration in South Sudan, saying it was aimed at securing affordable oil supplies for the country. This was after a Sunday Times article about the so-called dodgy deal.

Quoting Radebe’s cabinet colleagues, the newspaper reported that the minister may have flouted the government processes in tying up the deal. The sources alleged that the deal had not come before the cabinet and did not have approval from the Treasury.

Radebe said he had full confidence in the newly inaugurated administration, led by Ramaphosa.

“It is my hope that as a servant to this great nation, that my love for SA and her people was evident in all that I have accomplished. As I pass on the mantle to my colleagues, I have no doubt that they will continue to serve and to carry the torch of democracy proudly, honourably and diligently to the benefit of our country and the continent as a whole.” 

Radebe said he would always be a proud ambassador of SA and looked forward to continuing his efforts in building the African continent. The former minister was sworn in as an ANC MP last week.