President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday evening that he will keep Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on as his minister of communications. Pinky Kekana will also continue as deputy minister in the portfolio.
The move should help bring stability to a portfolio that suffered a high turnover of ministers during the Jacob Zuma administration.
Speaking at the Union Buildings on Wednesday shortly before 9pm — almost an hour later than he was scheduled to make the announcement — Ramaphosa said his appointment of the new cabinet was “guided by the need to build a modern developmental state”. (Read: Ramaphosa cabinet: the full list of ministers.)
“South Africans are gravely aware of the acute economic difficulties the country is going through right now,” the president said. “We have to place priority on revitalising our economy while at the same time exercising great care in the use of public funds.”
Ramaphosa combined several portfolios, reducing the number of ministries from 36 to 28. “This is a significant move of down-scaling our state,” he said. “Many people believed that our government, which is meant to serve 57 million people, was bloated. This was agreed right across the board.”
The president said a “reconfigured state” is an “ideal”. But, he said: “We also see it as a process. It is a process that should lead us to a blueprint type of government we all seek.”
Several ministries have been merged. They are:
- Communications and telecommunications & postal services (already announced in 2018);
- Trade & industry and economic development;
- Higher education & training and science & technology;
- Environmental affairs and forestry & fisheries;
- Agriculture and land reform;
- Mineral resources and energy;
- Human settlements and water & sanitation;
- Sports & recreation and arts & culture.
Ramaphosa said he took into consideration experience, continuity, competence, generational mix, demographic mix and regional diversity in appointing the new executive.
“The people I am appointing must realise that the expectations of South African people have never been higher or greater than they are at the moment,” he said. “The people I will be appointing have a huge responsibly on their shoulders. Their performance … will be closely monitored against specific outcomes. I will be signing performance agreements with every minister and deputy minister, which will be evaluated regularly… Where performance is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.” — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media