South Africa: 'New Dawn' Cabinet Doesn't Impress Opposition - This Is What They Had to Say

Deputy President David Mabuza, foreground left, and President Cyril Ramaphosa, foreground right, along with Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Directors- General and Senior Government officials at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House for the Extended Cabinet Meeting.

The rays of the "new dawn" didn't illuminate South Africa's four biggest opposition parties with much hope after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet, with the EFF viewing Pravin Gordhan's reappointment as a "declaration of war".

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the appointment of the Cabinet was the first real test for Ramaphosa's "much-talked-about 'clean-up' and tough stance on corruption".

"Unfortunately, Ramaphosa placed the internal factional interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of the people of South Africa.

"At a time of great expectation of renewal and change, Ramaphosa instead chose the survival of the ANC over the future of the country. Ramaphosa chose to appoint [compromised] individuals such as David Mabuza as deputy president, Fikile Mbalula as minister of transport and Gwede Mantashe as minister of mineral resources," he said in a statement.

DA 'not impressed'

Maimane was not impressed with the appointments in the economic cluster, which, according to him, shows "that he will continue down the same tried-and-tested path that has led us to have the highest youth unemployment rate in the world".

"While 10m South Africans are unemployed, the President's Cabinet choice shows he has no new ideas; nor new personnel; to address the country's job crisis."

South Africa at this point deserves a diverse, competent Cabinet that is not a negotiated settlement between factions, but instead a team of committed individuals who are ready to take South Africa forward, Maimane said.

On reducing the size of Cabinet, a longstanding DA gripe with the governing party, Maimane said: "It's not enough. It's not enough.

"I would have called on the president to make a much bigger cut, ensure that we have an efficient government. But what's the plan? Is the plan about delivering jobs? And then, how do we streamline government to achieve that? It seems like this was a balancing of factions, rather than delivering a plan for South Africa," he told News24 on the Parliamentary precinct shortly after the Cabinet announcement.

Ramaphosa is 'dishonest, manipulative'

The EFF said in a statement it rejects the Cabinet.

"The EFF finds Ramaphosa as a dishonest, manipulative person whose Cabinet decision is an absolute insult to the intelligence of the country," reads the statement from EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"The first sign of absolute dishonesty is the idea that he has reduced the Cabinet by reducing the number of ministers, yet he increases deputy ministers. The point of the call for the reduction of the Cabinet has always been about saving taxpayers money. This objective is not achieved when a number of deputy ministers have been considerably increased whilst reducing the Cabinet.

"The Cabinet remains a bloated bunch of people, which is a clear disregard of the public purse in favour of satisfying the factional demands of the ANC. Ramaphosa has failed to save public money from the factional and careerist gluttony of the ANC. Putting more deputy ministers after reducing ministers and telling us that you have reduced Cabinet is an insult to the intelligence of South Africans."

The EFF has been driving a campaign against Pravin Gordhan, who has retained his position as minister of state enterprises despite a finding against him by the Public Protector last Friday, which he has since taken on review.

"The reappointment of Gordhan means Ramaphosa has no regard for the remedial action and reports of the Chapter 9 constitutional institution and decisions of the Constitutional Court. In fact, the appointment of Gordhan is irrational and clearly unconstitutional," Ndlozi said.

"We reject the Cabinet and take it as a declaration of war and the EFF will respond decisively. Ramaphosa will be treated the same way as Zuma. Whoever ignores the findings of the Public Protector is an enemy of the EFF and a constitutional delinquent."

The EFF was, however, happy with the female representation in Cabinet, but unimpressed with the number of young people.

President puts ANC before the country

IFP MP and spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement that they welcome the reduction in Cabinet's size.

"We are hopeful that we may forge meaningful and constructive dialogue in finding active solutions to the struggles we face as a nation with the executive," he said.

"We welcome some new and vibrant ministers and we wish them well in their term, in particular with regards to the reconfigured economics cluster and the justice cluster in particular."

However, he said the IFP is "mindful of the fact that the president has chosen to put the ANC before the country, and he has neglected to choose South Africa above the ANC, when it comes to recycling members of the executive as it appears musical chairs became the norm".

"A recycling and a mere appeasement of the powers in which control the president have come to light as Luthuli House remains in control of the executive authority.

"We certainly hope that the Cabinet will act in the best interests of our country and not in the interests of the elite and select few which have benefitted over the past few decades from state control."

He said the IFP wishes the executive well in serving the country.

FF Plus 'reasonably happy'

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said the party was reasonably happy with the ministers, but he is concerned about Mabuza's reappointment as deputy president.

"If you look at the core ministries, the most important ones to ensure that we have a stable economy in South Africa, for instance, the minister of finance, still Tito Mboweni, if you look at the state-owned enterprises, which is Pravin Gordhan, as well as minister [Ebrahim] Patel, for economic development - I think those were good choices," Groenewald said.

"I think it can evoke some confidence from potential investors in South Africa. So, we welcome that.

"But it is also clear that the president had a long day behind him and it was not an easy one.

"And the fact that we still have Mabuza as deputy president means that they're lining him up for the future president of South Africa, which I don't think will be a good thing for the future of South Africa," Groenewald said.

"We will give them a fair chance, and we will ensure that we keep them accountable to the people of South Africa. We need drastic economic growth in South Africa."

He said another good appointment was Thoko Didiza as minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development.

"She is quite well-experienced in both those portfolios and as a person, she is also a cool-headed person, which we need for agriculture, which is a very important sector for the development of South Africa and specifically if you talk about land reform."

The FF Plus is happy with the reduced size of Cabinet, but felt it could have been reduced further, especially the deputy ministers.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina told News24 it is a well-balanced Cabinet.

"A mixture of youth, women, continuity, new blood, new ideas.

"To me, that is the formidable team that the president needs to move forward. You look at 50% gender parity, that is much appreciated." She said Parliament will take up its mandate of oversight over the executive.

Majodina is also satisfied that the Cabinet will unify the ANC.

"Oh yes, you could see the alliance [partners], women's league, youth league, former leaders - everybody who matters in the ANC is all there. It was not an easy exercise to cut down the executive to that number, but I think the president needs to be appreciated. He has done a lot to achieve that number."

Source: <b>News24</b>

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: News24Wire

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.