Zuma’s Cabinet: Nene for Gordhan, Nathi for Nathi

President Jacob Zuma announced his new executive on Sunday evening – with a few surprises, including the demotion of Gordhan from the finance ministry to the troubled cooperative governance department.

Nhlanhla Nene, former deputy finance minister, was appointed as the new finance minister with Mcebisi Jonas, former provincial minister of economic development in the Eastern Cape, coming in as his deputy.  

As expected, Zuma also made key changes within the security cluster – with the notable demotion of Nathi Mthethwa from the police ministry to the arts and culture department. Siyabonga Cwele was removed from the state security department to the new telecommunication and postal services department, while Jeff Radebe was shifted from the Justice department to minister in the presidency. 

Naledi Pandor was moved from Home Affairs to Science and Technology and Sbu Ndebele, the former correctional services minister, was dropped from Zuma’s cabinet.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is the only minister from the security cluster, who escaped the chop.


Former Public Enterprise minister Malusi Gigaba replaces Pandor as Home Affairs minister. 

Former director general of labour Nkosinathi Nhleko replaced Mthethwa as police minister while Micheal Masutha took the place of Radebe and Ndebele as the minister of the newly formed department of justice and correctional services.

The security cluster was heavily criticised for it’s handling of the Nkandlagate scandal, which involved the spending of R246-million of taxpayer’s money for the security upgrade at Zuma’s house.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recently lambasted Mthethwa for failing to properly apply his mind when signing the declaration of Zuma’s Nkandla home as a national key point. She said Mthethwa failed to direct Zuma to implement security measures at his own cost or to properly modify the declaration during the R246-million upgrades at the president’s private home.

A strange appointment was that of Tina Joemat-Petersson to head the energy portfolio. She replaces Ben Martins, who was dropped from Zuma’s cabinet. The Public Protector found Joemat-Pettersson guilty of maladministration, improper and unethical conduct in the irregular awarding of an R800-million tender to the Sekunjalo consortium to manage the state’s fishery vessels during her time as minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 

Other notable ministers who have been chopped from Zuma’s administration include ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile, former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim and former Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minster Lulu Xigwana. 

As expected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Kgalema Motlanthe as the country’s new deputy president. Former Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was appointed as minister of the new Water and Sanitation department.

The new communications minister is Faith Muthambi, who was part of the ad hoc committee on Nkandla. She is the former whip of the communications portfolio committee. The reconfigured communications department will include the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS), Communications Authority of SA, Brand SA, the Media Development and Diversity Agency, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa and the SABC. 

Zuma said the new department would be responsible for overarching communication policy and strategy, information dissemination and publicity as well as the branding of the country abroad. 

“Improved communication and marketing will promote an informed citizenry and also assist the country to promote investments, economic growth and job creation,” said Zuma.

Again, the ANC’s left partners scored big, with the appointment of former National Union of Mineworkers Senzeni Zokwana as minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and young communist league national secretary Buti Manamela as deputy minister in the presidency.

Former unionist Ebrahim Patel was retained as Economic Development minister, Thulas Nxesi as Public Works Minister and Blade Nzimande as Higher Education Minister. 

Zuma said he decided to combine the National Planning Commission with Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation into one ministry in the presidency to harmonise the planning and monitoring functions. The ministry, which will be headed by Jeff Radebe, will also continue to be responsible for youth development.

Zuma said the new cabinet would implement the five-year medium term strategic framework of government, which has been developed using the national development plan and the ANC manifesto.

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Matuma Letsoala
Guest Author

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