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SACP: Ramaphosa must rejuvenate Cabinet

President Ramaphosa made an undertaking during the State of the Nation Address that he would reduce the size of the Cabinet and national government departments.

Newly appointed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he delivers a speech after being elected by the Members of Parliament during his swearing-in ceremony at the Parliament in Cape Town, on 15 February 2018. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Following one of the most dramatic weeks in South Africa’s politics, questions still linger over the possibility of a Cabinet shake-up.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected unopposed and sworn in on Thursday after Jacob Zuma’s reluctant resignation.

He delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address (Sona) just a day later making several announcements on the configuration number and size of the national government departments.

President Ramaphosa made an undertaking during the address that he would reduce the size of the Cabinet and national government departments.

Zuma was widely criticised for the size of his cabinet.

Civil society bodies and opposition parties are now putting pressure on Ramaphosa to realign his Cabinet urgently.

The Public Servants Association says that President Ramaphosa's looming downsizing of government departments will channel more employees to the ground level where services are needed by the public.

The trade union's Tahir Maepa emphasises the need for skilled professionals to occupy key positions in government.

“People who will be able to really aspire confidence from ordinary in the country.”

Political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, says that Ramaphosa's address however contains too many fragmented initiatives.

“There seem to be too many initiatives that need to be sequenced, that need to be prioritised and narrowed into fewer initiatives.”

MP's will debate Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on Monday.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s Sizwe Pamla says there are ministers they want axed.

“Ministers like David Mahlobo, Mosebenzi Zwane, Bathabile Dlamini and all these other ministers need to be relieved off their duties, not because there’s an agenda that’s behind pursuing their interests but what we’re trying to do is to rehabilitate the image of the ANC.”

The South African Communist Party (SACP)’s Solly Mapaila says it’s important that Ramaphosa acts now.

“President Ramaphosa can’t come in and have this overwhelming acceptance by the people and still drive the old horse, it won’t take him far.

“He should rejuvenate it. There’s a need for rejuvenation of Cabinet and realignment of different ministries which we support.”

Ramaphosa will reply to the debate on Tuesday.