Politics, Africa

South Africa: Cabinet reshuffled 6 months before polls

Cyril Ramaphosa freshens Cabinet ahead of 2019 elections, but critics say some corrupt or incompetent ministers remain

South Africa: Cabinet reshuffled 6 months before polls South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa

By Hassan Isilow


South Africa’s president on Thursday announced a Cabinet reshuffle with general elections barely six months out.

Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Siyabonga Cwele the new home affairs minister, replacing Malusi Gigaba, who resigned this month after a court found he had lied under oath in parliament.

The president also put Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in charge of communications, postal services, and telecommunications.

Ramaphosa said he had decided to fold the Postal Services and Telecommunications Ministry into the Communications Ministry in a bid to avoid duplication of duties.

Cwele previously served as minister of postal services and telecommunications, with Abrahams as her deputy.

The president also appointed former Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane to be head the Environmental Affairs Ministry, succeeding the late Edna Molewa.

The opposition welcomed the appointment of Ndabeni-Abrahams, saying she represents youth in the cabinet and is expected to bring dynamic ideas to her portfolio.

But some critics were unhappy that the president had retained some ministers accused of mismanagement and corruption.

Ramaphosa was appointed president in February 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after they forced Jacob Zuma to step down in the wake of many corruption scandals.

Experts say Ramaphosa cannot fire ministers ahead of an election because he wants them to campaign for the ANC and can remove those under a cloud after the polls.

South Africa, which subscribes to a proportional representation political system, will hold parliamentary elections next May.

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