New Cabinet Appointments Hold Promise for SA!

New Cabinet Appointments Hold Promise for SA!

By Cheryllyn Dudley – Political Analyst at dia-LOGOS.  Cheryllyn has been a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1999 to 2019.  She has been a member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians on freedom of religion & belief since2011, is a board member of the Graduate School of Influencers and a lecturer for the School of Governance.

7 August 2021

While opposition will feel obliged to find fault and undermine efforts by government to gain the confidence of the people, the new appointments appear to be well-considered and wise choices. A government divided against itself cannot stand.  

The compromises made to accommodate divisions in the ANC, while necessary at the time, have proved to be problematic and while this was to be expected, there is wisdom and courage displayed where people dare to hope for the best and give the benefit of the doubt. Political posturing will of course continue and even escalate as elections draw near but hopefully efforts to destabilise the country will be strategically managed and dealt with – without hesitation.

After what seemed like a failed insurgency, likely orchestrated by a faction of the governing party in July, President Ramaphosa has changed almost one-third of his 28-member Cabinet and has announced that the political responsibility for the State Security Agency will now be housed in the office of the Presidency. “This is to ensure that the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence services more effectively enable the President to exercise his responsibility to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation,” the President said during his announcement on Thursday.

The minister who will be tasked with overseeing state security is the new Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele. He replaces Jackson Mthembu in this strategic role (Mthembu succumbed to Covid-19 in 2020). Gungubele is a seasoned politician who was previously deputy finance minister, a former mayor of Ekurhuleni and has held numerous provincial governing portfolios. Zizi Kodwa remains deputy state security minister in the Presidency where he has been since May 2019.

Sydney Mufamadi has been appointed national security adviser and Thandi Modise is now Defence Minister, Mapisa-Nqakula the former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is no longer a cabinet minister. Bheki Cele will continue as minister of police.

Dr Mufamadi who is likely to work closely with the President to establish a trustworthy intelligence service, has well established credentials and an excellent reputation due to his across the board success in constitutional procedures, electoral structures, fair elections, efficient local government, conflict resolution, international experience and expertise, and in his position as the Director of the School of Leadership. I had the honour of studying for a post-grad degree in African Policy and benefitted from his lectures on Traditional Justice at UJ Soweto in recent years.

Thandi Modise who served as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence from 1998 to 2004 also served as speaker of North West Provincial Legislature, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, and Speaker in the National Assembly. In my experience of her as a leader, I have been left with the impression of a strong level headed leader who is able to command respect effortlessly.

Enoch Godongwana, another seasoned leader who headed up the party’s Economic Transformation Committee replaces Tito Mboweni as finance minister. Khumbudzo Ntshaveni who stood in after Mthembu’s death now heads up Communications and Digital Technologies and Joe Phaahla has taken over from Zweli Mkhize, who resigned on 4 August after being exposed by Daily Maverick for receiving family benefits from the Digital Vibes contract.

Mmamoloko Kubayi, is now our Human Settlements minister and Lindiwe Sisulu has taken over the tourism portfolio. Lindiwe Sisulu was front and centre when Jacob Zuma challenged Thabo Mbeki for President and has not clearly distanced herself from the RET faction. She is one of the last vestiges of overt support for suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule as President Ramaphosa stamps his signiature on this administration and takes control of state security. No easy task!

Professor Sandy Africa, regarded as one of the top intelligence leaders in the country, will chair the panel set up to accomplish this task, together with Mojanku Gumbi, and Silumko Sokupa, who have both proven themselves in the arena of National Intelligence.

President Ramaphosa, who once hoped to have a smaller cabinet has found this to be wishful thinking as politics dictates – globally, nationally and locally – and places restraints on idealistic ambitions. With Water and Sanitation now separate from Human Settlements, the Cabinet has grown from 28 to 29 portfolios and an additional deputy minister has been added to strengthen the Mineral Resources and Energy portfolio.

The Cabinet reshuffle should provide the support for the President which has been lacking and will be needed to counter the attacks on the administration which are likely to increase as the ANC’s next elective conference in 2022 looms large.

There is of course no ‘free-world’ presidency in the world that does not face similar ongoing attacks and challenges from within and without. There is no magic wand, just fortitude courage, and prayer.

Pics: Cheryllyn with President Ramaphosa .

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