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Cyril Ramaphosa Reshuffles Cabinet, Reappoints Nene As Finance Chief






President Cyril Ramaphosa has made his cabinet appointments Monday, adding new faces to removing some of the old ministers allied to his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Nhlanhla Nene is one of such faces being reappointed as finance boss, the ANC member of parliament whose sacking from the role of Finance Minister some 2 years ago began the revolt within the ruling party which eventually led to the ouster of its former leader Jacob Zuma.

Nine years of the Zuma presidency have been marred by multiple corruption allegations, disputed appointments, and economic mismanagement. Jacob Zuma has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In his state-of-the-nation address after his inauguration, Ramaphosa hailed a ”new dawn” for South Africa and promised to combat corruption plaguing Africa’ most industrialized economy.

During his first stint as Finance Minister, Nene sought to put a tight lid on government spending before being terminated by Zuma in December 2015 and replaced little-known parliamentary backbencher Des van Rooyen. Only to be fired four days later by Jacob Zuma who replaced him with a previous finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The value of the Rand took a dive during that moment of uncertainty.

Gordhan was also reappointed to Ramaphosa’s cabinet to head the Public Enterprise department, overseeing some 300 state-run firms and the cash-strapped national carrier South Africa Airways and energy company Eskom. He was sacked last March by Zuma. Pravin Gordhan is a popular figure with investors and served between 2009 through 2014 as Minister of Finance and again from 2015 until 2017.

Hoping to keep all factions with the ruling ANC satisfied and represented in his cabinet, Ramaphosa maintained several ministers who served under Zuma but demoted them from key government departments. A majority of those dropped altogether from cabinet roles were Zuma allies, ten of them in total. In a brief statement issued to the press ”In making these changes, I have been conscious of the need to balance continuity and stability with the need for renewal, economic recovery, and accelerated transformation”.

Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane who heads the Democratic Alliance party said the cabinet was filled with compromised ministers, saying ”Ramaphosa’s new cabinet will serve the ANC, not South Africa”, he particularly took aim at the appointment of David Mabuza, the ANC’s deputy president as South Africa’s Deputy President.

Both Nene and Mabuza will take the official roles after being formally sworn-in as ANC parliamentarians.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Ramaphosa’s main challenger for the ANC leadership election in December was named minister in the presidency in charge of planning and monitoring. She was married to former president Zuma for over ten years and has four children by him. Also served as chairwoman of the AU Commission.

Ahead of the cabinet announcement, the Rand held firm against the Dollar and remained steady after President Ramaphosa officially made the changes.



Neba Benson,

BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst



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