For some, the announcement of president Jacob Zuma’s new executive comes with a sigh of relief, for others it dashed their high expectations.
The two ANC bigwigs who will be most disappointed are veteran leaders Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and former arts and culture minister Pallo Jordan. They were overlooked in the constitution of the new Cabinet despite being highly placed on the ANC’s parliamentary lists, indicating their popularity and seniority in the party.
Another key ANC leader to be left out is former deputy president Baleka Mbete, who overplayed her hand in trying to force the ANC to re-appoint her as deputy president. She was unceremoniously sent back to Luthuli House where a role for her is yet to be defined, given that the national chairperson of the party has never been outside of Cabinet.
Controversial health minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang did not make it back to Cabinet while Ngoako Ramathlodi — tipped to become justice minister — also did not make the cut.
Others who lost out on Cabinet positions are former deputy minister of justice Johnny de Lange, who has been tasked with devising a plan to revamp the criminal justice system, indicating that he could have been a shoo-in for justice or police minister.
Former justice minister Brigette Mabandla — abruptly moved to public enterprises last year — was not sworn in as MP and was not expected to be included in the new Cabinet. The new justice minister is former transport minister Jeff Radebe.
Former defence minister Charles Nqakula is being replaced by Lindiwe Sisulu, but his family only loses one salary — his wife, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who was moved from the Department of Home Affairs to Correctional Services.
Former trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa has also been left out of Cabinet, with his portfolio taken over by communist party leader Rob Davies.
Zuma also found no place in his Cabinet for the beleagured correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour, who has been linked to corrupt activities in his department. Former Water Affairs and Forestry minister Lindiwe Hendricks was also not graced with a Cabinet spot while Azapo leader Mosibudi Mangena, who served as minister of science and technology was also not asked back.
Several deputy ministers were told their services are no long required, including Andre Gaum (education), Fatima Hajaig (foreign affairs), Fezile Bengu (defence), Ntombazana Botha (arts and culture) and Loretta Jacobus (correctional services).
The South African Communist Party as well as the ANC Youth League has welcomed the announcement of Cabinet and wished the incumbents well. The youth yeague had former presidents Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula included in the executive as deputy ministers while the SACP has several of its leaders in the executive, including its general secretary, Blade Nzimande, and his deputy Jeremy Cronin.