In with the young, out with the old? - Speculation rife on Ramaphosa’s reshuffle

Analysts said President Cyril Ramaphosa, half way in his tenure, now had to appoint a Cabinet that reflected his vision for the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on 1 February 2021 on government's latest efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The country is awaiting to hear how far President Cyril Ramphosa will go when he announces changes to his executive at 8.30 pm on Thursday.

He has faced criticism for prolonged consultations, with those close to him saying he had met with those he intended to fire and bring on board.

Sources told Eyewitness News that he had done the traditional consultations with African National Congress (ANC) top brass and alliance partners.

Analysts said Ramaphosa, half way in his tenure, now had to appoint a Cabinet that reflected his vision for the country.

Those close to Ramaphosa are expecting that it won’t be another swapping of portfolios but it will be an overhaul of Cabinet that could spell the end for some long standing ministers.

They expect him to axe the security cluster ministers after they failed to stop the wanton looting and deadly violence that left over 300 people dead.

READ: Cabinet reshuffle... Ramaphosa to announce 'changes to national executive'

Ramaphosa is likely to bring in a trusted ally to State Security Security Minister position following the failed insurrection and the department now without a head of domestic branch, a suspended head of foreign branch and no permanent director general.

Others said he was looking to bring in younger politicians to replace a Cabinet full of ministers at pensionable age.

The big move will, however, be on finance; he is said to have been shopping around to replace Tito Mboweni who has been described as reluctant throughout his tenure.

There is talk of a new economic advisor as the country’s economy struggles to rebound and unemployment and inequality deepens.

Also key is replacing disgraced Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to see the country through the COVID-19 pandemic, with pressure on government to move quicker to vaccinate citizens ahead of an expected fourth wave.

Some of Ramaphosa’s ministers have been accused of inaction in the face of crisis including Sports Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Ramaphosa’s first Cabinet was seen as a compromise to appease the warring factions in the ANC, but this time around, he changes his Cabinet with the balance of power in the party tipped in his favor.

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