Equal number of men and women named as ministers for first time in South Africa
South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has slashed the size of his new cabinet, reducing it from 36 to 28 ministries as part of his plans to streamline government.
Unveiling the eagerly anticipated executive on Wednesday evening, Mr Ramaphosa also ensured a gender balance was achieved at ministerial level for the first time in South Africa’s history, with half of the 28 posts going to women.
Mr Ramaphosa, who was reappointed president last week after the African National Congress (ANC) party won the May 8th general election with a reduced majority, faced significant pressure to appoint a cabinet that did not include people tainted by allegations of corruption or incompetence.
While he achieved this to some degree, his appointments suggest that realpolitik played a central role in his choices.
Reaction to the cabinet has been mixed so far, with opposition parties calling it an insult to South Africans and far from the “new dawn” Mr Ramaphosa promised
Most of the corruption-tainted ministers from former president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet did not make the cut. But it appears as though some scandal-prone individuals, including some of Mr Ramaphosa’s allies, were appointed to ensure party unity.
For instance, Mr Ramaphosa reappointed deputy president David Mabuza, whose support was crucial to his victory at the ANC’s elective conference in 2017, even though he is accused of ordering political killings and of tender fraud while premier of Mpumalanga Province.