President Cyril Ramaphosa’s prerogative to appoint two cabinet ministers from beyond the somnolent benches of the ANC in parliament may give false hope to those banking on fresh perspectives in the executive. They should curb their enthusiasm because the chances of Ramaphosa bringing in able people unencumbered by the effects of ANC ideological rigidity and factional paralysis are low.

The provision for two non-MP cabinet ministers dates back to former president Nelson Mandela amending the constitution to allow him to appoint former Nedcor CEO Chris Liebenberg as finance minister after the shock early exit of Derek Keys. In that instance, Mandela looked beyond the party’s narrow interests and used the appointment shrewdly, to keep investors and the markets onside in the first years of democratic transition...

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