President Cyril Ramaphosa used his Cabinet reshuffle to simultaneously shore up a dire, uninspiring government and prop up his own political power. The new Cabinet appointments indicate shrewd political manoeuvring that has neither thrilled nor enraged any particular sector of society — it was safe. Nevertheless, the reshuffle saw sweeping changes to what was effectively former president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet. It had to be so — it was critical for Ramaphosa to stamp his authority so ministers who account to him could understand that they are indeed serving at his pleasure. It is a delicate balance, which he described as "transitional", rather than a compromise. It was also always going to be difficult to appoint ethical, completely untainted individuals from the festering mess which the ANC has become after a decade under his predecessor. It was clear from the onset that Ramaphosa would not have a free hand during his stint as ANC president, particularly at this early stage — the par...

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