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29 May 2019 16:30
President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce his Cabinet on Wednesday evening. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)
President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce his Cabinet on Wednesday, the Presidency has confirmed.
As tourists mill around the Union Buildings on Wednesday afternoon, obliviously taking pictures of the historic building, the country remains on tenterhooks in anticipation of Ramaphosa’s Cabinet announcement.
Speculation about who’s in and who’s out floating on WhatsApp groups and social media, as the potential incoming finance minister Tito Mboweni raised the prospect of cooking a “slow baked pork belly or mala mogodu curry” on Twitter.
As Mboweni pondered his next cooking masterclass, the rand weakened for a third day, dropping amidst uncertainty over the much-anticipated announcement of Ramaphosa’s incoming executive.
Aside from identifying the team at the helm of effecting a critical turnaround of the ailing economy and restoring the state after a decade tainted by state capture and corruption, Ramaphosa’s Cabinet will be an expression of his political strength, given the fractured power bases in the governing party.
The announcement was delayed by the postponement of the swearing-in of ANC deputy president David Mabuza as well as Ramaphosa’s back and forth consultations with the ANC’s officials and the tripartite alliance.
The Cabinet will not only contain the names of ministers but also the structure of the executive to lead the country into the sixth democratically elected administration.
It is understood that there will be new additions, but that old faces such as Mboweni, former ministers Gwede Mantashe, Pravin Gordhan, Bheki Cele, Naledi Pandor and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will feature.
New additions are likely to be young up and coming ANC leaders such as Zizi Kodwa, Ronald Lamola, Barbara Creecy and David Masondo.
There is speculation that the reconfiguration would centre on delivery through tightening departments to drive economic growth, with a potential merger of the economic development and trade and industry department.
The ANC’s lekgotla in January proposed expanding the small business ministry to include cooperatives as the latter has a “much broader role to play in the transformation of the economy”.
There is also speculation that the science and technology department could be merged with higher education and that justice and correctional services could once again be combined.
Ramaphosa is under pressure from some in his party for more deputy ministers, while the Economic Freedom Fighters in a media briefing last week urged the president to do away with deputy ministers entirely.
Natasha Marrian is Mail & Guardian's politics editor. Read more from Natasha Marrian
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