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Saturday 14 December 2019

South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa shuffles cabinet

Ramaphosa was sworn in this month after Jacob Zuma resigned in the face of multiple corruption allegations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (AP/Ruvan Boshoff)
President Cyril Ramaphosa (AP/Ruvan Boshoff)

By Cara Anna and Christopher Torchia

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a cabinet shuffle that replaces the finance minister and puts a former minister in charge of the country’s troubled state-owned companies.

The new president, who was sworn in this month after Jacob Zuma resigned in the face of multiple corruption allegations, signalled his intent to clean up the graft that has weakened one of Africa’s top economies by including two widely respected former finance ministers.

One of them, Nhlanhla Nene, will return to the post after being replaced by Mr Zuma in late 2015.

Pravin Gordhan, whose firing by Mr Zuma last year sent South Africa’s economy briefly into recession, will rejoin the cabinet as public enterprises minister.

Malusi Gigaba, at the presidential guest house in Pretoria (AP/Themba Hadebe,)

The finance minister who replaced Mr Gordhan, Malusi Gigaba, has been criticised for his ties to a business family accused of using its association with Mr Zuma to win state contracts.

Mr Ramaphosa moved Mr Gigaba back to the home affairs ministry.

The president said David Mabuza will become deputy president after he is sworn in on Tuesday as a member of parliament.

Last week, Mr Ramaphosa said his cabinet would shrink after a months-long review and that his government would conduct “lifestyle audits” on government officials, starting with his office.

Mr Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader and businessman who became deputy president under Mr Zuma, made the cabinet announcement 90 minutes after it had been scheduled despite his calls for the government to do things on time.

The new president apologised for the delay and said “last-minute consultations” had to be made, an indication of the negotiations he is having behind the scenes with Mr Zuma’s allies as he seeks to unify the ruling African National Congress party ahead of next year’s elections.

PA Media

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