Cabinet reshuffle welcomed

The Cabinet meets at the Union Buildings.
(Image: The Presidency)

President Jacob Zuma said they want
to enhance service delivery.

Service delivery is the driving force
behind the reshuffle.

Minister Lulu Xingwana (right) is replacing
Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya (left).
(Images: Bongani Nkosi)

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President Jacob Zuma has reshuffled top posts in the government, appointing new ministers and deputies to improve performance in his administration.

Zuma announced that recently appointed senior officials would start their new duties on 1 November 2010. He has appointed new ministers in nine departments and chosen 17 new deputy ministers.

This is the biggest administration reshuffle in the government since 1994. It involves some ministers being moved to different departments, and some former deputies becoming ministers themselves. There are also a number of new faces in the Cabinet. “Some of the outgoing members are to be deployed in other positions in government,” said Zuma in a media statement.

The ministers who have performed well will remain in their positions. “We have completed the process of the reconfiguration of government, and that of putting in place systems that will help us change the way government works in order to improve service delivery,” said Zuma.

“Given the fact that we still face serious challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country, government has to work at a faster pace to change the lives of the poor.”

The Zuma administration came into power 17 months ago, and since then the presidency has been studying what works and what doesn’t. Zuma said they have identified the need for changes in the Cabinet.

Deputies for new departments

Zuma first restructured the Cabinet when he was appointed president, adding new ministries and splitting some departments into two. One of the splits took place in the Department of Education, resulting in the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education. Neither one was supplied with deputy ministers at the time.

The Department of Higher Education has now received a deputy minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, to work with Minister Blade Nzimande.

“We have seen it prudent to strengthen the skills and human resource development sector by appointing a deputy minister to assist the minister of higher education and training, given the size of the portfolio,” said Zuma.

Former deputies moving up

The Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, which Zuma created when he came to power, will now be headed by the former minister of arts and culture, Lulu Xingwana. Former deputy minister of arts and culture Paul Mashatile is now minister of the department.

Mashatile will be assisted by Dr Joe Phaahla, who was the director-general for the government unit which oversaw the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Zuma has also made changes to the Department of Communications, appointing Roy Padayachie as minister and Obed Bapela as deputy. Former minister of the department, Siphiwe Nyanda, has been removed from the Cabinet, while his deputy, Dina Pule, has been appointed the deputy in the Presidency’s Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration ministry.

Fikile Mbalula, formerly deputy minister of police, now heads the Department of Sports and Recreation. Mbalula replaces Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile.

The mayor of the City of Tshwane Dr Gwen Ramokgopa moves into the national government as deputy minister of health, a position that was left vacant following the passing away of former deputy Molefe Sefularo in April 2010.

The City of Tshwane will now get a new mayor, expected to be Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who is currently chairperson of the African National Congress’s (ANC) Tshwane Region.

Mildred Oliphant, former parliamentary chairperson for the international relations committee, is the new minister of the labour department, replacing the long-serving Membathisi Mdladlana.

The public enterprises department also has a new minister, Malusi Gigaba, and new deputy Ben Martins. Gigaba was previously the deputy minister of the home affairs department, but has been replaced by parliamentary chairperson Fatima Chohan.

Other departments with new ministers are social development, public works, and water and environmental affairs. Departments such as correctional services, trade and industry, rural development and land reform, international relations and cooperation, energy, and a range of others, have new deputies.

Reshuffle welcomed

Political parties have expressed support for the Cabinet changes. The ruling ANC said the reshuffle was necessitated after “serious introspection” and assessment of existing Cabinet members.

“The reshuffle was necessary to speed up service delivery,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said. “The ANC is confident that the changes at Cabinet level will go a long way to make the government stronger.”

Official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said it welcomed the removal of the ministers of communications; labour; and women, children and people with disabilities.

“… President Zuma made the right decision to remove them from their positions,” DA leader in parliament Athol Trollip said in a statement.

“President Zuma has made a number of positive adjustments to his Cabinet. The move is a positive indication of renewed focus on accountability.”