New agri and land minister Thoko Didiza to lead expropriation debate

Durban-born Didiza commands respect across political parties for the way she has handled often acrimonious debates as House chairperson in the National Assembly and is a hardworking, able MP.

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - With the land question set to dominate as Parliament gets to grips with drafting a bill to allow for expropriation without compensation, President Cyril Ramaphosa has merged Agriculture with Rural Development and Land Reform.

He has put Thoko Didiza in charge. Didiza was minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs between 1999 and 2006.

She also chaired the ad hoc committee which looked at the need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.

She replaces Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who becomes the new Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the composition of the national executive at the Union Buildings.  He revealed that the number of Cabinet portfolios would be trimmed down from 36 to 28.

Durban-born Didiza commands respect across political parties for the way she has handled often acrimonious debates as House chairperson in the National Assembly and is a hardworking, able MP.

No stranger to either agriculture or land affairs, she’s likely to be seen as a good pair of hands to help drive the difficult process of dealing with the land question. She turns 54 on Sunday.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma takes over Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, a crucial portfolio with too many ailing municipalities and local government elections looming in two years time. Dr Zweli Mkhize is the new Health Minister, while Aaron Motsoaledi’s been put in charge of Home Affairs.

SACP leader Blade Nzimande is, meanwhile, back in charge of Higher Education, which Science and Technology will be collapsed into. His old portfolio of Transport goes to Fikile Mbalula. It’s not the sexiest Cabinet post, but he’s likely to deliver some razzmatazz.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)