The who’s who of Cyril Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet
It is a mixed bag of ministers, some have been accused of tender irregularity, others appear to have squeaky clean records
The Presidency: Planning, monitoring and evaluation:
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma lost her bid to become ANC president to Cyril Ramaphosa, but her inclusion in his Cabinet is a strategic move that will appease her disgruntled supporters and potentially unite the party.
The former AU Commission chairwoman has extensive experience in governance and has served as SA’s minister of health and foreign affairs.
With the exception of the deadly blunder committed in her reckless response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic during Thabo Mbeki’s administration and the irregular R14.2m payment for the production of the political musical Sarafina II — intended to raise AIDS awareness among young people — she would have otherwise had a clean record.
Minister of public enterprises:
Former president Jacob Zuma axed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and replaced him with Malusi Gigaba in a midnight shakeup of his Cabinet that earned him the animosity of the nation and the ANC.
Gordhan had served in the portfolio for six years when he was moved to the ministry of co-operative governance and traditional affairs for a short stint from 2014 to 2015. He was steadily guiding the country towards economic stability following the 2008 global recession when Zuma fired him.
He is largely regarded as a proponent of clean governance and has been on the forefront of the fight against state capture and corruption — forcing even members of his own party to account.
Minister of home affairs:
Malusi Gigaba has been accused of opening the door to state capture where, during his tenure as public enterprises minister, he littered state-owned companies with Gupta-family associates and connections.
Gigaba was appointed finance minister the night former president Jacob Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan in March 2017.
His appointment spiked fears that he was put in the critical portfolio in order to push certain projects and “capture” the Treasury.
With his appointment came a number of resignations at the Treasury, which included director-general Lungisa Fuzile and deputy director-general of budgeting Michael Sachs.
Gigaba, a former ANC Youth League leader, held three portfolios in Zuma’s Cabinet: public enterprises, home affairs and finance.
During his tenure at home affairs he pushed through the Guptas’ South African citizenship. In June 2017, he told Parliament he did this because of their contribution to the economy.
Deputy minister of finance:
Mondli Gungubele, the former mayor of the Ekurhuleni metro, was recently threatened with sanctions by the ANC when he defied the party and publicly stated in 2017 that he would vote with the opposition in a motion of no confidence against Zuma.
Gungubele was MEC of several portfolios in the Gauteng government and had been an MP in the National Assembly for just more than a year before he ruffled feathers.
During his tenure as mayor, opposition parties accused him of illegally appointing the city manager and overseeing the irregular awarding of tenders worth more than R300m, although the allegations were never tested.
As a newbie in the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), his appointment will catapult the former teacher’s political career to new heights.
Minister of human settlements:
The former deputy minister of international relations and co-operation, and the former deputy speaker of the National Assembly was the ANC mayor in Cape Town before Helen Zille won the city for the DA.
Nomaindia Mfeketo was part of the negotiations to transform SA into a democracy. In 2011, when she was deputy speaker, there was an outcry by the DA about her official residence, which was allegedly custom built for R8m, while she owned a private residence 9km away.
Constitutional law expert Prof Pierre de Vos came to the conclusion that Mfeketo was either incapable of grasping the meaning of parliamentary rules or abused her powers as deputy speaker and flouted the Constitution to protect Zuma.
Minister of finance:
The firing of the former finance minister turned cabbage farmer, in favour of Gupta stooge and unknown ANC backbencher Des van Rooyen plunged the economy into a crisis. Nhlanhla Nene’s return to the position is bound to be welcomed.
Zuma claimed that Nene was a candidate for a job at the Brics bank and this was why he was removed, but no position materialised at the bank.
It was suspected that Zuma fired Nene because he was reluctant to approve a nuclear deal with Russia and because he blocked an expensive South African Airways (SAA) deal with Airbus. At the time SAA was chaired by Zuma’s close ally Dudu Myeni.
Nene recently declined the position of chairman of the board of Eskom. He has been criticised by insiders in the ANC for failing to fight back after Zuma’s axing as Gordhan had done, and this may be the mild, witty, intelligent and affable Nene’s weakness — he lacks an appetite for conflict.
Minster of mineral resources:
The former secretary-general of the ANC cut his teeth in the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). This will be Gwede Mantashe’s first stint in national government after a near-decade of service as the party’s secretary-general.
His legacy is something of a mixed bag, with critics arguing that he presided over the descent of the ANC during the Zuma years as a willing participant — it was only in Zuma’s second term that Mantashe began shifting his allegiance away from the former president.
Mantashe’s brash style is matched by a diplomatic, listening approach — he is among very few ANC leaders who held regular meetings with Afrikaner organisations. He is untested in a ministerial post, his only political position so far has been as a councillor.
ANC deputy president David Mabuza is a somewhat controversial character. As the party’s Mpumalanga chairman and premier he has been running the province with an iron fist since 2009.
There has been a cloud over his head in relation to allegations of corruption. In 2010 there were reports that R14m in cash had been stolen from Mabuza’s residence, dubbed The Farm.
He was part of the so-called Premier League, a once-strong lobby group in the ANC who were staunch supporters of Zuma and were expected to support Dlamini-Zuma as well.
However, after the 2016 local government elections, when the ANC lost three metros to the opposition, Mabuza realised the party was in trouble. He threw his support behind Ramaphosa and, along with ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile, is largely credited for Ramaphosa’s victory.
Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs:
The former premier of KwaZulu-Natal and former treasurer-general of the ANC is also a medical doctor. He stepped out of the party’s leadership race in December by declining his nomination as deputy president.
He was also MEC for finance and economic development in KwaZulu-Natal from 2004-2009, and MEC for health in his home province from 1994-2004.
Recently former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana claimed in Parliament that Mkhize solicited 10% of R465m due to Swifambo Rail Leasing, which provided Prasa with the too-tall Afro 4000 locomotives. Mkhize hit back and said he was considering legal action as Montana had defamed him.
Minister of public service and administration:
The former deputy minister of public service and administration was promoted to communications minister in March 2017. She had a short stint at the ministry, which was dealing with the crisis at the SABC, before she was moved in the second Cabinet reshuffle of 2017 to the portfolio of home affairs.
In June 2017, it was revealed that Dlodlo’s stay at the luxury Oberoi Hotel in Dubai was booked for by Gupta-owned Sahara Computers‚ and the bill settled by controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane.
At home affairs she had to deal with the suspension of director-general Mkuseli Apleni by her predecessor. The court overturned his suspension and he was allowed to return to work.
Minister of international relations and cooperation:
Ramaphosa’s running mate at the ANC’s December conference was not elected as one of the party’s top six officials.
Lindiwe Sisulu has been a long-serving Cabinet minister in portfolios including defence, public service and administration, and human settlements.
In 2014 she was accused of squandering public money while she was defence minister when it emerged that she had spent R11m on chartered flights in a Gulfstream jet.
She has also come under fire for several appointments she made in her portfolios, which included the appointment of former national director for public prosecutions Menzi Simelane as a special adviser.
Minister of rural development and land reform:
The former international relations and co-operation minister is best known for her bizarre comments during an interview with Al-Jazeera where she said, "I have a hole in my head."
In response to a question about the chaos in Parliament, she explained how, in her youth, she had to carry a bucket on her head which gave her the hole. During the interview she also praised Zuma and said she had learnt a lot from him.
She often sleeps in Parliament when it is in session.
She also came under fire for granting former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity after she was charged with assaulting a woman in Sandton.
Minister of basic education:
The narrative that SA is not ready for a female president was Motshekga’s bright idea when she was ANC Women’s League president.
The former teacher and lecturer was trained by political luminaries such as Nelson Mandela who employed her as director in the office of the president between 1994 and 1997.
Her tenure as minister of basic education began in 2009 while she was the deputy chairwoman of the ANC in Gauteng.
She failed to ensure the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools in 2012, and South African students are at the bottom of the performance rankings for maths, science and reading for comprehension.
The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) called for her axing in 2017, saying the curricula imposed on learners prepared them to be job seekers and not job creators.
Minister of defence:
The minister of defence and military veterans was appointed to the position by Zuma in 2012. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s career had a clean slate until her 2017 concession that she had flown from the Waterkloof Air Force Base to the Democratic Republic of Congo to collect a young Burundian woman who was arrested for falsifying her travel documents. She was never sanctioned for abusing her position.
She has been an MP since 2004 and has headed the home affairs and correctional services portfolios.
In 2009, while at correctional services, the department’s R1.7bn catering and security tenders were investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) after allegations of kickbacks and tender rigging surfaced.
Minister of economic development:
The former unionist has been minister of economic development since its inception in 2009.
Ebrahim Patel’s appointment was seen as Zuma’s attempt to appease the labour movement after Cosatu threw its support behind his candidacy for the ANC presidency in 2007.
Patel is a former general secretary of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu).
His department was meant to co-ordinate the development of the country’s New Growth Path and oversee the work of key state entities engaged in economic development. This was not achieved, and most state entities are deep in crisis as a result of years of mismanagement.
Minister of environmental affairs:
The first woman to chair Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry in 1994 was also the North West’s first female premier.
In 2009 Zuma appointed her to head the social development ministry but moved her to environmental affairs in 2010 where she still serves.
Her recent no-show in Parliament caused outrage among MPs who had called her to discuss irregular and wasteful expenditure at the South African Weather Service.
She has been a member of the ANC’s NEC since 2003.
Minister of water affairs and sanitation:
The former minister of rural development and land reform has served in various positions in the Eastern Cape government, including speaker of the legislature.
He reportedly helped to broker a lease deal for the Bekendvlei Farm for a Luthuli House employee and his business partner. The DA has asked Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate this facilitation.
Minister of higher education and training:
In a break from ANC tradition, Ramaphosa announced with fanfare in December that his chosen deputy president for the party was Naledi Pandor. But delegates ignored his choice and elected Mabuza to the position.
Pandor was science and technology minister, and has been minister of education and home affairs. She usually closes debates in the National Assembly for the ruling party.
She was minister of home affairs when the Gupta’s private wedding party landed their jet at the Waterkloof Airforce base. She later said that she attended Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding only because she was invited. She said her curiosity was "piqued" by the "beautiful" invitation.
Minister of public works:
The former minister of sport and recreation was the joke of the Nkandla scandal when he was minister of public works and produced a video to transform a swimming pool into a "fire pool".
Nxesi was one of the only Cabinet members from the South African Communist Party (SACP) who was not axed in Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle in 2017, after the party had called on Zuma to resign because of state capture.
Minister of energy:
Jeff Radebe is the longest serving Cabinet minister in SA and was minister in the presidency responsible for planning. He was embroiled in a sexting scandal with a young photographer who worked in the Union Buildings.
His bid in 2017 to become president of the ANC was dead in the water.
Radebe has served as minister of justice and constitutional development, public works, public enterprises and transport as well as acting minister of health.
Minister of sport and recreation:
The former minister of tourism was given the portfolio following the axing of Derek Hanekom, who had made it clear that he wanted to be axed.
Tokozile Xasa has been deputy minister of tourism since 2009. A teacher by profession, she has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Fort Hare.
She was the ANC provincial secretary in the Eastern Cape, and the first female mayor of a district municipality in the transitional period of local government in the province.
Minister of police:
Once a key backer of Zuma, their relationship deteriorated severely when former police commissioner Bheki Cele was removed from his position following the public protector’s report in February 2011 that found that he had been guilty of improper conduct when entering into a R500m lease for a Pretoria building to headquarter the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Cele was linked in April of the same year to a plot to oust Zuma — a so-called intelligence dossier emerged that said he was part of a meeting in Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal, where senior ANC leaders plotted Zuma’s downfall.
He emerged before the ANC’s December conference as a key campaigner to ensure Ramaphosa’s election as president of the party, securing sections of the party’s membership in KwaZulu-Natal to back the party’s new leader.
He was among the first senior ANC leaders to speak out against Zuma.
President Cyril Ramaphosa reshuffled his cabinet on February 26 2018. Find out who’s in and who’s out.