Who's who in Cyril's new cabinet

The president announced his new cabinet late on Monday night and in the process axed: Fikile Mbalula, Lynne Brown, Faith Muthambi, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Des van Rooyen, Mosebenzi Zwane and David Mahlobo (Paul Botes/M&G)

The president announced his new cabinet late on Monday night and in the process axed: Fikile Mbalula, Lynne Brown, Faith Muthambi, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Des van Rooyen, Mosebenzi Zwane and David Mahlobo (Paul Botes/M&G)

Deputy President - DD Mabuza

Mabuza has served as both chair and premier of Mpumalanga since 2008 and 2009 respectively. He was elected as the ANC’s deputy president in December last year at the party’s elective conference after apparently switching his support from Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to Cyril Ramaphosa in the race for the party’s leadership. Considered to be a controversial character, Mabuza has positioned himself as a politician intent on rooting out corruption and promoting unity in the ANC, though some of his critics claim he used violence and intimidation to run Mpumalanga, none of which have been proven.

Minister of Communications - Nomvula Mokonyane

Mokonyane has been a member of the ANC’s Gauteng legislature since 1994, serving in various portfolio committees. She was elected to the NEC in 2007 and became the first female premier in 2009. In 2014, Mokonyane was appointed minister of water affairs and sanitation. Mokonyane is known as a Zuma backer who once said: “The rand falls … we will pick it up again” in response to South Africa’s economy being downgraded.

Minister of Cooperative Governance - Zweli Mkhize

Mkhize spent much of 2017 campaigning to head the ANC, however his campaign among several others fell short and he withdrew his candidacy for the position of deputy president for the sake of “unity”. The doctor and former ANC treasurer general has replaced Des van Rooyen as minister of cooperative governance and affairs.

Finance Minister - Nhlanhla Nene

After spending a few years in the private sector as a director of Allan Gray and a resident adviser at Thebe Investment Corporation, Nene has returned to his position as finance minister. Nene held the position from May 2009 until December 2015 when former president Jacob Zuma fired him. At the time of his axing, the rand had its single biggest fall since 9/11. 

Minister of Police - Bheki Cele

Once one of Zuma’s allies, Cele backed President Ramaphosa in his campaign for the ANC presidency in December 2017. During his stint as the national police commissioner, Cele was famed for his instruction to police officers to “shoot to kill” when they came up against criminals. After serving as deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Cele will take on the mantle of minister of police.

Minister of Energy - Jeff Radebe

The former minister in the presidency, Jeff Radebe is the longest serving cabinet minister and has served in several national executive position since 1994. Radebe has served as minister of public works, public enterprises, transport, justice and constitutional development and now energy. 

Minister of Higher education - Naledi Pandor

Touted as Ramaphosa’s preferred candidate to serve as his deputy both in the ANC and of the republic, the former science and technology minister has replaced Hlengiwe Mkhize as the minister of higher education. Pandor was appointed to cabinet in 2004, and she has served as the minister of home affairs and education.

Minister of Home Affairs- Malusi Gigaba

After delivering his first and last budget speech in 2018, Gigaba has returned to his former position as minister of home affairs. Gigaba was expected to be axed during Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle because state capture and corruption allegations in state owned enterprises began to emerge during his tenure as public enterprises minister between 2010 and 2014. 

Minister of Human Settlements - Nomaindia Mfeketo

The former controversial mayor of Cape Town who left her position after unauthorised spending of R275.6-million and irregular spending of R54.09-million, has replaced Lindiwe Sisulu as the minister of human settlements. Mfeketo worked for several NGOs in the 1980s and 90s before being elected to serve as the first democratically elected chairperson on the City of Cape Town’s council.

Minister of International Relations - Lindiwe Sisulu

Sisulu was one of the four women touted to be Ramaphosa’s deputy although she herself was in the race for the ANC presidency in 2017. She has been a Cabinet member since 1994 serving as minister of human settlements, housing, home affairs, intelligence and defence. Now, she has replaced Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as the minister of international relations.

Minister of Mineral Resources - Gwede Mantashe

Famous for his “mantashing”, the former coal-miner and unionist turned ANC secretary-general, and now chairperson of the party, will also serve as minister of mineral resources, replacing the axed Mosebenzi Zwane who was directly implicated in the Vrede dairy project scandal. Mantashe, who will work directly with the chamber of mines, is being viewed as “a man of integrity” and a welcome change for a sector he is intimately familiar with.

Minister of Public Enterprises - Pravin Gordhan

Former finance minister Gordhan has returned to Cabinet to take control of the public enterprises ministry, replacing controversial minister Lynne Brown. Over the past several years the portfolio, which deals with state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, SAA, Denel and Transnet, has been racked with allegations of corruption and state capture. 

Minister of Public service and Administration - Ayanda Dlodlo

After serving two short stints as the minister of communication and home affairs under former president Jacob Zuma’s administration, Dlodlo is now minister of public service and administration. Her rise in political power has been attributed to her support for Zuma after she played a vital role in getting the NPA to drop the corruption charges against him.

Public Works - Thulas Nxesi

During his first stint as minister of public works– from 2014 until 2017– Nxesi was accused of lying about the renovations to Zuma’s home Nkandla, after the minister personally classified the R117-million remodel and security upgrades as “top secret”, even moving to exonerate the former president from the scandal. Nxesi was appointed as minister of sport and recreation in 2017.

Rural Development and Land reform - Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Nkoana-Mashabane has served as minister of international relations and cooperation since May 2009. During her tenure in this portfolio, South Africa became a member of BRICS. In 2015, she was elected as the treasurer general of the ANCWL. Nkoana-Mashabane recently made headlines when she granted Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe immunity after she allegedly assaulted a young women on a trip to South Africa.

Science and Technology - Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane

Although Kubayi-Ngubane served in roles such as deputy chief whip for the ANC in Parliament, she only attracted public attention after a picture was published apparently showing her painting her nails during a debate on Nkandla. Known as a Zuma loyalist, she was appointed as minister of energy in March 2017 and then as minister of communications in October 2017. 

Sports & Recreation - Tokozile Xasa

Originally a school teacher, Xasa became the first female mayor of a district municipality in the transitional period of local government in the Eastern Cape. She joined the ANC’s women’s league in 1993. Xasa served as the deputy minister of tourism from 2009 until she was appointed minister of this portfolio in 2017.

State security - Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

Not much is known about Letsatsi-Duba who has now been tasked with heading a ministry that has been marred by scandal. A long-time ANC member, Letsatsi-Duba, joined Umkhonto we Sizwe in exile and came back to join the Limpopo legislature before going into business. She was appointed as the deputy minister of public service and administration in 2017 and has chaired the portfolio committee on public enterprises.

Social development - Susan Shabangu

Shabangu has been an MP representing the ANC since 1994 and was appointed minister of mining from 2009 to 2014. When she left the mining portfolio, she was appointed minister of women in the presidency. Shabangu has been criticised as shaming victims of abuse and not representing women in her previous position. In her new portfolio, #Sassagate awaits her. 

Minister of monitoring, planning and evaluation in Presidency - NDZ

After losing out to Cyril Ramaphosa at the 54th annual conference for the position of ANC president, many wondered what Dlamini-Zuma’s next step would be. Speculation that she was tired and wanted out of politics was rife but this appointment to Cabinet is a sure answer from the former chairperson of the African Union. This is also not her first ministerial position as she has been the minister of health, foreign and home affairs.

Minister of Women in the Presidency - Bathabile Dlamini

The woman in the middle of the social grants debate whose competence is questioned at every turn has managed to survive the axe – for now. Dlamini is infamous for her role in the breakdown of the grant payment system as well as her lax leadership of the ANC Women’s League. Many are surprised that she made it into Ramaphosa’s Cabinet with suggestions being that this is all in the name of unity. 

Tourism - Derek Hanekom

With a reputation as being openly anti-Zuma, Hanekom has been one of the most vocal ANC members against the former president’s conduct. Hanekom was appointed Minister of Tourism in 2014 but was axed by Zuma during the March 2017 reshuffle. He returns to his position after serving as an MP. 

Transport - Blade Nzimande

Nzimande, who has been the general secretary of the South African Communist Party since 1998, has in recent times become increasingly outspoken against alliance partner, the ANC. He was the higher education and training minister from 2009 to 2017 until he was axed from Cabinet in October. 

Water and Sanitation - Gugile Nkwinti

Nkwinti became the speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in 1994 before being elected as an MEC in the province from 1999 until 2004. In 1999, he was appointed as minister of rural development and land reform and managed to survive all eleven of Jacob Zuma’s reshuffles.

Mashadi Kekana
Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie works in the Mail & Guardian's online department. She majored in English Literature at a small liberal arts college in the USA. 
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