President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a reconfigured Cabinet with the number of Ministers reduced to 28, down from 36 in the previous administration.
The President, who was sworn in last Saturday after the May 8 polls, made the much-anticipated announcement on Wednesday amid calls from many quarters for cutbacks in what has been labelled a “bloated government”.
Having listened and taken cognisance of the public’s demand for inclusive economic growth in order to reduce poverty and unemployment, President Ramaphosa said the reconfigured national government would help the sixth administration achieve what millions of South Africans want.
“In the election of the 8th of May, South Africans provided this administration with a clear mandate to accelerate inclusive economic growth, act with greater urgency to tackle poverty, improve government services, fight corruption and end state capture.
“If we are to give effect to this mandate, we need a capable, efficient and ethical government,” said the President.
His announcement on Wednesday evening was foreshadowed in his February 2018 State of the Nation Address, where he outlined plans to reconfigure the State to optimise it for service delivery and to ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources.
Given the enormity of the work that lies ahead, the President had a strong warning for the new Ministers: “Their performance – individually and collectively – will be closely monitored against specific outcomes. Where implementation is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.”
Balancing gender scales
For the first time in the history of South Africa, half of all Ministers are women. There is also a significant number of young people.
The President said the appointments were made as a way of fulfilling a commitment to give young people roles of responsibility in all sectors of society.
“This is part of a generational transition in which we are creating a pipeline of leaders to take our country further into the future,” he said.
President Ramaphosa explained that these changes to government were necessitated by the overarching goal of building a modern developmental State that has the means to drive economic and social transformation, embrace innovation and direct efforts and resources to where they will have the greatest impact.
A country at work
Since taking over the reins in the previous administration, President Ramaphosa has had one clear mission: to get the economy out of the doldrums. The changes announced on Wednesday will give impetus to his masterplan to revitalise the economy while exercising the greatest care in the use of public funds.
To promote greater coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency, the President announced that a number of portfolios have been combined, thereby reducing the number of Ministers from 36 to 28.
- Trade and Industry is combined with Economic Development;
- Higher Education and Training is combined with Science and Technology;
- Environmental Affairs is combined with Forestry and Fisheries;
- Agriculture is combined with Land Reform and Rural Development;
- Mineral Resources is combined with Energy;
- Human Settlements is combined with Water and Sanitation and
- Sports and Recreation is combined with Arts and Culture.
“We had already combined the portfolios of Communications and Telecommunications and Postal Services.
“We have also decided to add responsibility for Infrastructure to the Public Works portfolio and to add responsibility for Employment to the Labour portfolio,” said President Ramaphosa.
While the fresh faces at the helm of Public Works and Infrastructure (with Patricia De Lille as Minister) and Small Business Development (with Khumbudzo Ntshavheni as Minister) come with years of solid experience, the President assured that every new and returning Minister is ready and capable to deliver under a new dispensation committed to setting the country on a path of growth and prosperity.