South Africa‘s new president Cyril Ramaphosa is under pressure to reshuffle his cabinet.
Opposition parties and civil society believe that changes in cabinet will signal Ramaphosa’s seriousness about rooting out corruption and fighting state capture.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected the fifth democratic president of South Africa, just hours after the dramatic resignation of former president Jacob Zuma. Opposition parties and many from the governing African National Congress are expecting the new president to make sweeping changes to the cabinet.
Ramaphosa is under pressure to fire incompetent ministers and those implicated in wide corruption as soon as possible.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that there would be cosmetic changes in the cabinet. The main reason I think is to reinforce key messages that he’s going to stick on, one is the anti-corruption and this has been the key focus, not just of the president but also of the party as well as the nation. There has been a damage to the image of the country in terms of corruption or perceived corruption under President Zuma,” said Dr. David Monyae, a political analyst.
“He’s laying that basis to ride on the optimism he has generated and to demonstrate to South Africans that they can trust him and believe in him to take South Africa to a new level. So this whole renewal agenda must be demonstrated and exhibited at every level of government and the cabinet will be the most critical component of government to exhibit that President Cyril Ramaphosa is really determined to lead a new team and drive a new agenda,” said Gideon Chitanga, another political analyst.
The names of ministers who are widely understood would be axed include Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who replaced Pravin Gordhan in March last year.
There is speculation that Lindiwe Sisulu could become Ramaphosa’s deputy. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is also among the names being circulated as possible deputy presidents, as Ramaphosa may want to bring Zuma loyalists into the fold for the sake of unity.
“He might go for a female deputy president and there are quite a number of key female members of ANC (African National Council) that could occupy that position quite easily. You have Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. It would give key unity within the party itself. We have Lindiwe Sisulu, another highly respected and capable minister that could be elevated to deputy,” said Monyae.