Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News, 2014-05-26
President Jacob Zuma has unveiled a revamped Cabinet announcing a host of new names and several new combined and separated ministries.
Zuma said the Cabinet will be tasked with improving and speeding up the implementation of our progressive policies and programmes.
“To improve implementation and ensure impact, we have reconfigured some departments while others have been expanded to improve capacity,” said Zuma.
Zuma promoted Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to become South Africa’s first black Finance Minister, replacing the widely respected Pravin Gordhan in a new Cabinet line-up at the start of a second five-year term in office.
The day after a glitzy inauguration in Pretoria, the 72-year-old Zuma also confirmed millionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his Deputy President, a decision likely to go down well with investors and the private sector.
The African National Congress believed the choice of leaders was balanced and experienced.
“It is our belief that the Cabinet, as announced, espouses the qualities necessary for the task ahead, guided by the National Development Plan, to decisively confront unemployment, poverty, and inequality in an equitable and accountable manner,” said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
Meanwhile a less then enthusiastic Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said the new Cabinet left citizens with little hope that the country’s problems would be effectively tackled.
“President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of his new Cabinet does not inspire confidence that South Africa’s major challenges – weak economic growth, unemployment, and corruption – will be tackled effectively in the president’s second term.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters also had their say. EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the party was deeply concerned about the costs associated with the new cabinet.
Ndlozi said the average expenditure on each minister and deputy for their cars, both houses in Pretoria and Cape Town, the protection services and transport exceeded R10m.
“It seems that President Zuma has taken a decision to award his loyalists with government positions, to prioritise giving them jobs as opposed to radical economic transformation which he committed to in his inaugural address.”
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s Irvin Jim has also criticised the president’s new Cabinet, saying people who defended Zuma and those who have been embroiled in scandals have been rewarded.
Jim says a case-in-point is the appointment of former national police commissioner Bheki Cele as the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Cele was axed over a leasing scandal two years ago.
Zuma didn’t allow for any questions to be asked by journalists in attendance and was whisked away immediately after finishing.