South African President Kgalema
Kgalema Motlanthe was sworn in as South Africa’s third post-apartheid president yesterday, after receiving 269 of the 360 votes cast by members of parliament. The opposition Democratic Alliance’s candidate Joe Seremane received 50 votes, while 41 ballots were spoiled. Former speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete was appointed deputy president.
Motlanthe then announced his new cabinet, with 10 ministers appointed to new posts. Significantly, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel was reappointed to his position following his resignation on Tuesday. Manuel’s retention is seen as a clear indication that the new administration has no plans to change its economic policies.
Grabbing more headlines was the replacement of controversial former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang with Barbara Hogan, with the former being appointed minister in the presidency. Tshabalala-Msimang has been widely slammed for her failure to adequately respond to South Africa’s HIV/Aids pandemic, while Hogan has been an outspoken critic of the health ministry’s policies on the disease. Hogan is also said to be a close confidante of Motlanthe.
In his first speech to parliament as president, Motlanthe gave the assurance that his administration would not deviate from existing ANC policies.
“The policies of this government are clear,” he said.
“They are based on the 2004 Manifesto of the African National Congress, enhanced by the decisions of both the ANC’s Policy Conference as well as its 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane in December 2007.
“Mine is not the desire to deviate from what is working. It is not for me to reinvent policy. Nor do I intend to reshape either Cabinet or the public service.
“We will not allow that the work of government be interrupted. We will not allow the stability of our democratic order to be compromised.”
Motlanthe’s election comes after former president Thabo Mbeki resigned on Sunday 21 September, following a request by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that he do so the day before. The new president will lead the South Africa until the next elections, scheduled for April 2009.
The 10 new Cabinet ministers are:
- Defence: Charles Nqakula
- Justice and Constitutional Development: Enver Surty
- Health: Barbara Hogan
- Safety and Security: Nathi Mthethwa
- Public Enterprises: Brigitte Mabandla
- Public Works: Geoff Doidge
- Intelligence: Siyabonga Cwele
- The Presidency: Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
- Provincial and Local Government: Sicelo Shiceka
- Public Service and Administration: Richard Baloyi
Those who retained their positions are:
- Finance: Trevor Manuel
- Social Development: Zola Skweyiya
- Education: Naledi Pandor
- Labour: Membathisi Mdladlana
- Correctional Services: Ngconde Balfour
- Housing: Lindiwe Sisulu
- Arts and Culture: Pallo Jordan
- Sport and Recreation: Makhenkesi Stofile
- Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Marthinus van Schalkwyk
- Water Affairs and Forestry: Lindiwe Hendricks
- Minerals and Energy: Buyelwa Sonjica
- Home Affairs: Noziviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
- Foreign Affairs: Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma
- Transport: Jeff Radebe
- Communications: Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri
- Trade and Industry: Mandisi Mphalwa
- Science and Technology: Mosibudi Mangena
- Agriculture and Land Affairs: Lulu Xingwana
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