/ 6 March 2023

Patel to be sworn in as MP just hours before cabinet reshuffle

Minister Patel 1499 Dv
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel will be sworn in as an MP on Monday morning, shortly before the anticipated cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa this evening. 

This was confirmed by ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula  and ANC parliamentary chief whip Pemmy Majodina.

Patel was the last remaining non-parliamentarian in Ramaphosa’s cabinet after Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana was sworn in as an MP last week.

This could mean that Ramaphosa will add two names of non-parliamentary members to his cabinet.

Ramaphosa is expected to announce his reshuffled cabinet, which will include a new electricity minister and a new deputy president to replace David Mabuza.

He announced the creation of the electricity ministry during his State of the Nation address in February as part of a series of measures aimed at addressing South Africa’s energy generation crisis and easing load-shedding.

Mabuza had informed Ramaphosa of his desire to resign in February, but was asked to stay in office while the process of appointing his replacement was finalised. ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile is the most likely candidate.

Parliament received Mabuza’s resignation as an MP on Wednesday last week, leaving the country without a deputy president and increasing the pressure on the president to reshuffle and replace ministers who failed to make the ANC’s national executive committee at its conference in December.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said at a media briefing to announce Ramaphosa’s programme for the coming week that the process of filling both vacancies in his cabinet would be completed “in a matter of days”.

“There is a sense of urgency that the president fills those vacancies as soon as possible,” Magwenya said.