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New South African cabinet welcomed with cautious optimism
June 2, 2019, 6:02 pm

Streamlined cabinet aimed at reviving economic growth 

Economists welcomed the new South African cabinet with cautious optimism as the mood has swung from “Ramaphoria” in December 2017, when Cyril Ramaphosa won the leadership of the African National Congress, to “Cystopia” in mid-2018 after the economy sank into a recession in the first half of 2018 and now to “Ramafixit”. 

Ramaphosa said the number of ministers had been reduced from 36 to 28 to promote “greater coherence, better co-ordination and improve efficiency”. 

“We need a capable, efficient and ethical government,” Ramaphosa said when he announced the cabinet. 

Here are the names of the newly appointed ministers: 

David Mabuza, deputy president
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, co-operative governance and traditional affairs
Tito Mboweni, finance
Naledi Pandor, international relations
Pravin Gordhan, public enterprises
Gwede Mantashe, mineral resources and energy
Ebrahim Patel, trade and industry
Patricia de Lille, public works and infrastructure
Thoko Didiza, agriculture, land reform and rural development
Angie Motshekga, basic education
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, communications
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, defence and military veterans
Barbara Creecy, environment, forestry and fisheries
Thulas Nxesi, employment and labour
Zwelini Mkhize, health
Blade Nzimande, higher education, science and technology
Aaron Motsoaledi, home affairs
Lindiwe Sisulu, water, sanitation and human settlements
Ronald Lamola, justice and correctional services
Bheki Cele, police
Jackson Mthembu, presidency
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, presidency for women, youth, and people with disabilities
Senzo Mchunu, public services and administration
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, small business
Lindiwe Zulu, social development
Nathi Mthethwa, sports, arts and culture
Ayanda Dlodlo, state security
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, tourism
Fikile Mbalula, transport 

Ramaphosa said he would sign performance agreements with all ministers and deputy ministers. 

Professor Chris Adendorff from the Nelson Mandela University Business School welcomed the streamlined cabinet. 

“This is a great move thus farRamafixit is now in motion,” Adendorff told The BRICS Post.  

Professor Raymond Parsons from the North West University Business School was equally enthused. 

Given the inevitable balance of political forces driving the shape and size of the new Cabinet, the broad economic message emerging from the reconfigured and leaner Cabinet is potentially a very positive one for business and the markets,” Parsons said. 

Credible and experienced re-appointments to the core economic portfolios like Finance, Public Enterprises, Trade and Industry, and Mineral Resources are likely to facilitate meeting the crucial challenge of boosting investor and business confidence. The restructured Ministerial economic ‘cluster’ must therefore now give the economy a better sense of direction and reduce policy uncertainty if economic recovery as well necessary structural reforms are to be promoted,” he added. 

Economists have said recently that load shedding in February and March was the main swing factor in terms of economic performance in the first half of 2019 with a quarterly contraction in first quarter GDP followed by a rise in the second quarter. 

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the appointment of the new cabinet by President Ramaphosa.  

“We acknowledge the statement made by the President at the event that growing the economy and fixing constraints of the country’s public finances ranked highest and were top of mind in rationalizing and combining the various portfolios in the economic cluster,” the industry body said.  

At a glance, the selection looks promising in its balance in terms of generational, gender and racial mix. Whilst we hope that the President has made good judgement with his selection, it is delivery that will tell the world that this indeed is the new dawn. The President’s upfront commitment to hold each of the appointed ministers to a performance management system that has mechanisms to detect and report sub/nonperformance, and to introduce appropriate consequences is most welcome. The commitment provides much needed assurance that the President is asking South Africa and all other stakeholders to hold him accountable,” it said. 

 Now that the provincial and national executive teams, especially ministers and members of the executive council in the economic clusters have been announced, we are urgently looking forward to their short term and medium term plans and in particular how performance management is to be handled,” it concluded. 

By Helmo Preuss for The BRICS Post

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