South Africa’s new-look Cabinet

11 May 2009

South African President Jacob Zuma has unveiled a new administrative team comprising 34 ministers, with a Cabinet and government departments reorganised in a bid to achieve “visible and tangible socio-economic development” within the next five years.

“We have since the launch of the ANC manifesto indicated the type of new administration we envisaged in terms of size, shape and political focus,” Zuma said in Pretoria on Sunday. “It should be a structure which would enable us to effectively implement our policies.”

National Planning Commission

Following extensive research on international models on how governments in other parts of the world plan and monitor performance, it was decided to establish a National Planning Commission (NPC), headed by former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, which will be based in the Presidency.

The commission will be responsible for strategic planning for the country to ensure one national plan to which all spheres of government will adhere, paving the way for a more comprehensive approach to socio-economic development in the country.

“We have also created a monitoring and evaluation competency in the Presidency, to monitor and evaluate the performance of government in all three spheres,” Zuma said. “There will therefore be two Ministers in the Presidency, one responsible for the NPC, and the other for monitoring and evaluation as well as administration in the Presidency.”

The second function within the Presidency will be overseen by Collins Chabane.

Former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Pravin Gordhan has been appointed the country’s new Minister of Finance. Sars has been praised as one of the best functioning government institutions since Gordhan took over in 1999.

Departmental changes

The Department of Foreign Affairs has changed to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as minister.

The Department of Minerals and Energy has been split into two separate departments, with Susan Shabangu appointed Minister of Mining and Dipuo Peters becoming Minister of Energy.

The Department of Education has also been split, with Angie Motshekga now Minister of Basic Education and Blade Nzimande becoming Minister of Higher Education and Training.

The Department of Safety and Security is now the Department of Policing, with Nathi Mthethwa remaining as minister, while the Department of Intelligence is now the Department of State Security, with Siyabonga Cwele in charge.

There is a new Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, headed by Gugile Nkwinti, as well as a Department of Human Settlements (formerly Housing), headed by Tokyo Sexwale.

Water Affairs merges with Environmental Affairs in the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs under Buyelwa Sonjica, a new-look Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is headed by Tina Joemat-Pettersson, while Marthinus van Schalkwyk leads the Department of Tourism.

Policymaking, implementation focus

A new Department of Economic Development, headed by Ebrahim Patel, has been established to focus on economic policymaking. The implementation function, however, remains with the Department of Trade and Industry under Rob Davies.

Sicelo Shiceka heads up the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, formerly Department of Provincial and Local Government.

Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya leads the new Department for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability, created to emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for vulnerable groups in South African society.

Unchanged ministries

Other appointments, in departments that remain unchanged, are:

  • Arts and Culture: Lulu Xingwana
  • Communications: Siphiwe Nyanda
  • Correctional Services: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
  • Defence and Military Veterans: Lindiwe Sisulu
  • Health: Aaron Motsoaledi
  • Home Affairs: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
  • Justice and Constitutional Development: Jeff Radebe
  • Labour: Membathisi Mdladlana
  • Public Enterprises: Barbara Hogan
  • Public Works: Geoff Doidge
  • Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor
  • Social Development: Edna Molewa
  • Sport and Recreation: Makhenkesi Stofile
  • Transport: Sbusiso Ndebele

‘Era of hard work’

Zuma stressed that while civil servants would not lose their jobs as a result of the changes, an era of hard work had begun, and that public workers who did their work diligently and efficiently had nothing to worry about.

“We reiterate that we will not tolerate laziness and incompetence, and that we will emphasise excellence and achievement from the Cabinet and the public service,” Zuma said.

“With these objectives in mind, I am confident that the new structure of government will enable the state machinery to speed up service delivery.”

SAinfo reporter

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