/ 29 May 2019

Cabinet announcement expected on Wednesday at 8pm, Presidency confirms

President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce his Cabinet on Wednesday evening.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce his Cabinet on Wednesday evening. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)

President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce his Cabinet at 8pm on Wednesday.

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 is in and who’s out floated in 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 restore the state after a decade tainted by state capture and corruption, Ramaphosa’s Cabinet 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 the back and forth consultations with the ANC’s national officials and the tripartite alliance by Ramaphosa.

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 upcoming ANC leaders such as Zizi Kodwa, Ronald Lamola, Barbara Creecey 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 as 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 completely.