The long dreaded Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle is finally here with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas removed and replaced with new individuals.
It came as a shock to all when the President, Jacob Zuma finally released a list of his new ministers on Thursday Midnight, firing Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
Releasing his new list few hours after his urgent meeting with the ANC six, Zuma announced 20 changes to his cabinet, with former ANC Youth League president Malusi Gigaba replacing Gordhan, while Sifiso Buthelezi will fill Jonas’s position.
The officials – ANC deputy Cyril Ramaphosa‚ chairperson Baleka Mbete‚ Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe‚ Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte and Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize – were called to a meeting at short notice at the presidential home, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, at 18:30.
Zuma’s final decision to axe the finance minister and his deputy follows a report from sources within the ANC top six, that the President made an offer to “quietly resign in 2018 if the party allows him to push through with his plans to fire the finance minister and his deputy, Jonas.
Though no further explanations were made as to why the president insists on removing Gordhan, it’s evident that the relationship between the treasury and office of the Presidency has worsened as it is rumoured that Zuma’s main intention is to lay hold of the nation’s treasury without any obstructions.
In a statement released to the media, Zuma said his intention to go on with the reshuffle was to help boost “efficiency and effectiveness”.
“I have decided to make changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness,” Zuma said in the statement. “The changes bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise,” he said.
“I have directed the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socio-economic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality.”
The List of New Ministers Tabled by the President Include:
- Minister of Energy, Ms. Mmamoloko “Nkhensani” Kubayi
- Minister of Transport, Mr. Joe Maswanganyi
- Minister of Finance, Mr. Malusi Gigaba
- Minister of Police, Mr. Fikile Mbalula
- Minister of Public Works, Mr. Nathi Nhleko,
- Minister of Sports and Recreation, Mr. Thembelani Nxesi
- Minister of Tourism, Ms. Tokozile Xasa
- Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms. Faith Muthambi
- Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize
- Minister of Communications, Ms. Ayanda Dlodlo
New deputy ministers
- Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms. Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
- Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Sifiso Buthelezi
- Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Ben Martins
- Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms. Maggie Sotyu
- Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Gratitude Magwanishe
- Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms. Thandi Mahambehlala,
- Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms. Elizabeth Thabethe
- Deputy Minister of Police, Mr. Bongani Mkongi
- Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
- Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Ms. Nomathemba November.
Malusi Gigaba, who is now the finance minister, was formally appointed by Zuma as the minister of Home Affairs, on 5 May 2014. Prior to this date, the Minister served in the same department as the deputy minister (2004- 2010) after which he was moved to head the Public Enterprises department in 2010.
Gigaba earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Durban-Westville (now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal) in 1991, and a master’s degree in social policy in 1994.
Gigaba has been touted for election to be one of the top six national office bearers of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), at its 53rd National Conference in December 2012. Some of the ANC branches have raised his name for the position of the Deputy President, National Chairperson and Deputy Secretary General.
As for the deputy finance minister, Sifiso Buthelezi, who until now, has been touted as the incumbent deputy finance minister, has long been a back-bencher at the parliament as an ANC MP since March last year.
Serving as one time Zuma’s adviser, Buthelezi is a seasoned politician and a qualified economist with three degrees. He joined the ANC in 1981 at just 20 years old and served eight years on Robben Island and was born in Mahlabathini in KwaZulu-Natal in 1981.
Buthelezi is a trusted aide of Zuma’s and advised him when the president was an MEC of economic affairs in KwaZulu-Natal many years ago. He played the same role in Mpumalanga to then premier Matthews Phosa.