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South Africa names new cabinet for multi-party government

The appointments have come after weeks of intense negotiations among the eleven parties in the governing coalition

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new cabinet late Sunday night, appointing his main political rival, John Steenhuisen, former leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), as minister of agriculture.

Ramaphosa took office on June 19 as head of the multi-party Government of National Unity (GNU), which was formed after his African National Congress (ANC) lost its 30-year parliamentary majority in the May 29 elections. He won a second term in mid-June after the ANC reached a coalition deal with South Africa’s largest opposition force, the DA, and other smaller parties.

The announcement of a new cabinet, however, had been delayed due to intense wrangling over portfolios between the ANC and the ten parties that make up the power-sharing alliance.

On Sunday, President Ramaphosa acknowledged concerns about the length of time it took to name the members of the National Executive but stated that the parties involved “had to consider the stability, effectiveness, and durability of the government we are establishing.” 

Of the 32 ministers appointed, Africa’s oldest liberation movement retained the largest share, with a total of 22. Ramaphosa awarded six ministerial positions and the same number of deputies to the center-right DA, which finished second in the May elections.

READ MORE: South African president starts new term under power-sharing deal

Ronald Lamola succeeded Naledi Pandor as minister of international relations and cooperation. Pandor, who had held the position since May 2019, reportedly announced her retirement from public service earlier this year.

Enoch Godongwana of the ANC was retained as finance minister, while Gwede Mantashe of the South African Communist Party remained minister of mineral and petroleum resources. Mantashe previously had energy attached to his role, but that has been removed and is now under the authority of Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

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A woman casts her ballot at a polling station, during general elections in Eshowe, South Africa, on May 29, 2024.
Africa’s oldest liberation movement must choose left or right

Officials from the DA, which has 87 seats in parliament, were assigned to the top jobs in the ministries of education, public works and infrastructure, forestry, fisheries and environment, communications and digital technologies, and home affairs.

“The DA is proud to rise to the challenge, and take our place, for the very first time, at the seat of national government where we can introduce our track record of governance excellence, zero tolerance for corruption, and pragmatic policymaking based on outcome and not intent,” the party said after the appointments.

The Patriotic Alliance, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Good Party, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Freedom Front Plus, the United Democratic Movement, Al Jama-ah, Rise Mzansi, and United African Transformation are the other parties represented in the GNU.

July 01, 2024 at 03:39PM

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