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Ramaphosa announces mixed bag of GNU cabinet

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By Ragheema Mclean

President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally announced his new cabinet for the seventh administration, featuring a mix of members from eleven political parties forming the government of national unity (GNU).

The announcement, made late Sunday night (30 June), follows weeks of intense negotiations and leaked correspondence between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The cabinet has been increased from 30 to 32 ministers with a total of 43 deputy ministers. The deputy president remains Paul Mashatile.

Key appointments in the new cabinet include DA leader John Steenhuisen as the Minister of Agriculture, Freedom Front Plus (FFP) leader Pieter Groenewald as the Minister of Correctional Services, and Enoch Godongwana (ANC) retaining his position as Finance Minister.

Additionally, Gayton Mackenzie of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) has been named Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture and Al Jama- ah leader Ganief Hendricks is the new Deputy minister of Social Development.

During his address, President Ramaphosa said that the new cabinet aims to reflect the will of the electorate, hoping to bring stability and effectiveness to governance.

Speaking on VOC Breakfast, Political analyst Tessa Dooms, remarked on the predictability of some appointments due to leaked correspondences, especially between the ANC and DA.

However, the positions offered to other parties were less certain until the official announcement.

“This cabinet made it very clear that many of the negotiations for the GNU were really about positions and the number of posts that parties would get,” Dooms stressed.

“It’s unfortunate that so many parties entered the GNU primarily for positions, resulting in one of the largest cabinets since 1994.”

Dooms pointed out that the majority of positions are deputy ministers, highlighting the focus on securing roles rather than forming a streamlined government.

She expressed concerns about the practical implications of such a large cabinet.

Regarding the future governance of South Africa, Dooms noted that the ANC strategically secured key ministries related to the economy, crime, and law enforcement, with basic education being the only significant sector they did not control directly.

“What this means is that the DA and other smaller parties will be under ANC supervision for the next five years,” Dooms said.

“This could lead to higher coherence due to ANC’s involvement across government, but it also sets the stage for potential debates and discontent in policy formulation.”

Furthermore, she also highlighted the challenge of dividing authority and power among ministries, as some have been restructured to accommodate various parties.

The ANC’s policies are expected to dominate in the short term, given the complexities of changing policy direction and budget allocations.

“We need to see if parties like the DA will follow the government’s line or push for radical changes toward their agendas,” Dooms commented.

“We can expect a scenario where either the ANC pushes their agenda through assertively, or we witness significant pushback and defiance from parties like the DA and the PA.”

Dooms predicted that the next five years would not be smooth sailing, with parties vying to assert their influence in a predominantly ANC-led cabinet.

VOC News

Photo: @GovernmentZA/X


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