Meet the Ministers
President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
(Age 72, 12 April 1942)
President: 2009 – present
Deputy President: 1999 – 2005
MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism, KZN: 1994 – 1999
Zuma was fired as deputy president in 2005 by President Thabo Mbeki due to allegations of fraud and corruption relating to the arms deal. However, he remained deputy president of the ANC and continued to enjoy wide support from within the party. Zuma was elected to head the ANC in 2007, ousting Mbeki, who later resigned from national office.
Zuma has faced several allegations in his time, notably including a rape charge. He has never been found guilty on any of these but remains a controversial figure in South African politics. Most recently, the president has been at the centre of yet another government spending scandal, this time relating to upgrades at his home in Nkandla.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
(Age 61, 17 November 1952)
Deputy President: 2014 – present
Ramaphosa rose to prominence within the ANC prior to the fall of the apartheid regime. However, after failing to secure the ANC presidency, he abandoned his political career in 1997 and joined the private sector. In 2012, he returned to politics when he was elected as ANC deputy president, replacing Kgalema Motlanthe.
(Age 61, 18 February 1953)
Minister in the Presidency
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development: 2009 – 2014
Minister of Transport: 2004 – 2009
Minister of Public Enterprises: 1999 – 2004
Minister of Public Works: 1994 – 1999
A member of the ANC since 1976, Radebe is the only person to have served in every cabinet as a minister since 1994. He holds an LLM degree in International Law. He also held the position of acting health minister while then-Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was unwell.
(Age 60, 10 May 1954)
Minister of Human Settlements
Minister of Public Service and Administration: 2012 – 2014
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: 2009 – 2012
Minister of Housing: 2004 – 2009
Minister of Intelligence: 2001 – 2004
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs: 1996 – 2001
The daughter of struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu, she has held a wide range of positions in government as well as in her private capacity. Sisulu holds an MA in philosophy. She famously called the DA’s David Maynier “flea-ridden” during a scandal over her use of military aircraft.
(Age 58, 19 June 1955)
Minister of Basic Education: 2009 – present
ANC Women’s League President – 2007 – present
Motshekga played various roles in Gauteng government before entering the cabinet under President Zuma. She has faced intense criticism during her time as education minister, largely due to the Limpopo textbooks scandal and various other shortfalls in her department. In a surprise move, though, DA leader Helen Zille came to her defence in 2013 blaming provincial MECs for the majority of the flaws attributed to Motshekga.
(Age 65, 12 April 1949)
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Minister of Finance: 2009 – 2014
Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service: 1999 – 2009
Codesa Chairperson: 1991 – 1994
Replacing the popular Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel in 2009, Gordhan appears to have succeeded in maintaining the reputation of his department. Along with Jacob Zuma and Mac Maharaj, he helped smuggle freedom fighters back into the country in the 1980s as part of Operation Vula. Possibly as a result, he continues to enjoy support from the president and is a well-respected member of government.
(Age 47, 23 January 1967)
Minister of Arts and Culture
Minister of Police: 2009 – 2014
Minister of Safety and Security: 2008 – 2009
Mthethwa is a close ally of the president and has served the ANC, the youth league and various other organisations for much of his life. He briefly served as ANC Chief Whip in 2008 before entering acting President Kgalema Motlanthe’s cabinet. He was also the Director 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee. He has been at the centre of several controversies since taking the helm of the police – always a tenuous position – most notably showing support for former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
(Age 42, 20 August 1971)
Minister of Home Affairs
Minister of Public Enterprises: 2010 – 2014
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs: 2004 – 2010
A senior member of the ANC since 1996, Gigaba is one of the more precocious politicians in the country, entering cabinet under the age of 40. He led the ANC Youth League and has been controversially vocal on a number of issues, including the “racist” Springbok rugby jersey and calling the DA “the devils themselves” during the 2014 election campaign.
(Age 66, 12 May 1948)
Minister of Trade and Industry: 2009 – present
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry: 2005 – 2009
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance: 2004 – 2005
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry: 1996 – 2004
A senior member of the SACP, Davies is sometimes criticised for his economic leanings, notably attempting to introduce a bill to have all businesses register with their local municipalities. He’s very well educated, holding an Honours degree in economics, an MA in international relations and a Ph.D in political studies. He spent many years in exile during apartheid.
(Age 58, 21 August 1955)
Minister of Mineral Resources
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services: 2010 – 2014
Limpopo Premier: 1994 – 2004
Ngoako Ramatlhodi has been a controversial figure who has faced claims of corruption relating to his time as Limpopo Premier. The charges were dropped by the NPA in 2008 and Ramatlhodi was never prosecuted. Ramatlhodi, who has criticised the Constitution as not adequately promoting transformation, holds an LLB degree and is a member of the South African Bar.
(Age 48, 18 November 1965)
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology: 2013 – 2014
Michael Masutha holds BJuris and LLB degrees. He was admitted to the Bar in 1995. He has served on two parliamentary committees, assessing the Auditor-General and Constitutional Review, respectively.
Minister of Communications
ANC Member of Parliament: 2009 - present
Makhado municipal manager
Faith Muthambi was the ANC’s whip on the Communications Portfolio Committee until her appointment as Communications Minister on 25 May 2014. Before heading to Parliament in 2009 Muthambi was embroiled in fraud and nepotism scandals while serving as Makhado municipal manager. She was suspended in 2008 but resigned before a disciplinary hearing was instituted.
(Age 55, 5 December 1958)
Minister of Finance
Deputy Finance Minister: 2008 – 2014
Chairperson Finance Portfolio Committee: 2002 – 2008
Nhlanhla Nene holds an Economics degree from the University of the Western Cape. He shot to public prominence when he fell off his chair on live television. Nene has roots in the labour sector, having worked as a union shop steward in the early 1990s. Nene will have acute knowledge of what is expected of him, having previously served as chairperson of the Finance Portfolio Committee and deputy Finance minister under Pravin Gordhan.
(Age 54, 15 April 1960)
Minister of Public Service and Administration
Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation: 2009 – present
ANC National Executive Committee member: 2007 – present
A member of the ANC since 1980, Chabane has a lengthy struggle history, serving around six years on Robben Island. He is seen as one of Zuma’s closest allies and is tasked with evaluating the performance of other Cabinet ministers. However, he has not played a major role in getting anyone fired or disciplined.
Minister of Economic Development: 2009 - present
When he finished high school in 1979, Patel was one of the top 10 matriculants in the country. He was a founding member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and has played various influential roles in South African labour relations.
(Age 55, 1 January 1959)
Minister of Public Works: 2011 - present
Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: 2010 – 2011
Secretary General of the South African Democratic Teacher’s Union: 1994 – 2010
Trained in education, Nxesi served a lengthy term of leadership at Sadtu before entering government. Around two years after being appointed to the Department of Public Works, Nxesi found himself embroiled in the Nkandla scandal, having to defend Zuma’s role in the security upgrades at the president’s KZN home. However, he has been very open about the problems within his department, even suggesting that it go into administration.
Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services
Minister of State Security: 2009 – present
Minister of Intelligence Services: 2008 – 2009
A Member of Parliament since 1994, Cwele is a close ally of President Jacob Zuma’s. He became embroiled in controversy when his then-wife Sheryl was accused of grooming young woman to smuggle drugs across international borders. Cwele claimed he was never aware of his wife’s activities, raising questions around his proficiency as Minister of State Security. After her conviction, the couple divorced.
(Age 43, 8 April 1971)
Minister of Sport and Recreation: 2010 – present
Deputy Minister of Police: 2009 – 2010
ANC Youth League President: 2004 – 2008
ANC Youth League Secretary-General: 1998 – 2004
An avid support of Kaizer Chiefs, the sports minister has given South Africans a few laughs and cringes in his outspoken approach to dealing with the national football team, recently describing the players as “a bunch of losers”. He is credited with getting Thabo Mbeki both in and out of presidency, becoming a strong supporter of Zuma in his bid to take control of the ANC. It’s believed he also helped Julius Malema succeed him in the ANC Youth League.
(Age 50, 18 December 1963)
Minister of Energy
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: 2009 – present
Northern Cape MEC for Education, Arts and Culture: 1994 – 1999
Northern Cape MEC for Education: 2003 – 2004
Northern Cape MEC for Agriculture and Land Reform: 2004 – 2009
A senior member of both the ANC Women’s League and SACP in the Northern Cape, Joemat-Pettersson has a lengthy history in political leadership in the province. Since joining the national cabinet, she has come under fire for various controversies, recently ending up on the wrong side of a public protector report in which Thuli Madonsela recommended that President Jacob Zuma consider disciplinary action against her for “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”
(Age 57, 23 March 1957)
Minister of Environmental Affairs
Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs: 2010 – present
Minister of Social Development: 2009 – 2010
Premier of North West Province: 2004 – 2009
Molewa is a senior member of the ANC Women’s League nationally and Chairperson of the league in the North West. She has filled various roles in her province during her political career which began in the 1980s. She has risen to public prominence somewhat due to the spike in rhino poaching.
(Age 55, 7 August 1958)
Minister of Health: 2009 - present
ANC National Working Committee member: 2013 – present
Motsoaledi has played a number of roles in the Limpopo Province government, but is best known for his largely successful management of the national health department so far. Barely finding himself in controversy since taking the position, Motsoaledi is credited with implementing numerous measures such as free ARVs for millions of HIV and Aids sufferers.
(Age 56, 14 April 1958)
Minister of Higher Education and Training: 2009 - present
SACP General Secretary: 1998 – present
Nzimande was a vocal opponent of former president Thabo Mbeki’s rule, specifically his economic policies. He possesses Master’s degree is in industrial psychology and a PhD in personnel management. In 2011, he voiced strong opposition to proposals for nationalisation, arguing that they were not “inherently progressive.”
(Age 45, 10 September 1968)
Minister of Social Development: 2010 - present
Deputy Minister of Social Development: 2008 – 2010
ANC Women’s League Secretary-General: 1998 – 2008
Dlamini rose to prominence through her work in the Women’s League and played a significant role in turning the tide against Thabo Mbeki, favouring Jacob Zuma for president. She is in charge of the country’s largest departmental budget by far, responsible for administrating the massive welfare programme.
(Age 61, 13 January 1953)
Minister of Tourism
Minister of Science and Technology: 2012 – present
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology: 2004 – 2012
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs: 1994 – 1999
Nelson Mandela specifically chose Hanekom to head up the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs due to his being an Afrikaner and, therefore, best suited to negotiating with white farmers. During the struggle, Hanekom and his wife were arrested in 1976 at a demonstration, later serving a prison sentence 1983 to 1986, then going into exile before the fall of apartheid.
(Age 60, 7 December 1953)
Minister of Science and Technology
Minister of Home Affairs: 2012 – present
Minister of Science and Technology: 2009 – 2012
Minister of Education: 2004 – 2009
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces: 1999 – 2004
Chancellor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology: 2002 – 2004
National Director of the Black Management Forum: 1993 – present
Pandor initiated a complete overhaul of the South African education system during her time as education minister, phasing out the outcomes based education system. She converted to Islam when she married Sharif Joseph Pandor, taking on the Islamic name, Nadia.
(Age 57, 13 November 1956)
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: 2012 - present
Minister of Correctional Services: 2009 – 2012
Minister of Home Affairs: 2004 – 2009
ANC National Working Committee member: 2013 – present
ANC Women’s League President: 2003 – 2008
Much criticised for her time in charge of home affairs under Thabo Mbeki, of whom she was a supporter, her continued role in Cabinet has come as a surprise to many. She remains a controversial figure in her new role, notably stirring up anger when she placed every military base on alert when ousted ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema decided to address soldiers at just one of them.
(Age 54, 13 May 1960)
Minister of Transport: 2013 - present
Minister of Energy: 2009 – 2013
Northern Cape Premier: 2004 – 2009
Originally from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, Peters entered politics through her involvement in various religious organisations before entering student politics and later the United Democratic Movement. She is very involved in gender issues.
(Age 42, 14 January 1972)
Minister of State Security
Head of Department in the Mpumalanga Co-operative and Traditional Affairs Department: 2006 – 2014
David Mahlobo holds a BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of Zululand. Before moving to the Mpumalanga Co-operative and Traditional Affairs Department, he worked in the Water Affairs and Forestry Department from 2002 to 2009. In 2013 City Press reported on claims Mahlobo had been using special blue lights and was being watched by a bodyguard. The report suggested he was a powerful figure who was known as “Super HOD” among government officials.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
National Union of Mineworkers President: 2000 – 2014
South African Communist Party Chairperson: 2012 - present
Senzeni Zokwana has faced a difficult period as NUM president in recent years, with the union losing members to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the mining sector. Zokwana, as the former head of the largest union in trade union federation Cosatu and the SACP, carries a fair amount of political influence.
(Age 65, 18 December 1948)
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform
Eastern Cape Agriculture MEC: 2005 – 2009
Eastern Cape Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Province: 1999 - 2005
Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature: 1994 - 1999
Gugile Nkwinti was first appointed Rural Development & Land Reform minister in 2009. Nkwinti was drawn into the Nkandla saga when an answer he gave to Parliament regarding houses built on state-owned land around the President’s homestead contradicted earlier remarks by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi. Nkwinti, while steering clear of definitive decisions on land reform, has made controversial statements in the past.
(Age 52, 26 September 1961)
Minister of Public Enterprises: 2014 - present
Western Cape leader of the opposition: 2009 – 2014
Western Cape Premier: 2008 – 2009
Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism: 2004 – 2008
The first openly gay Cabinet member in South Africa and possibly the continent, Brown’s appointment is seen by some as a symbolic victory for the LGBT rights lobby in Africa. Brown grew up in Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape, becoming a teacher and then a senior member of the province’s ANC Women’s League structures. She served briefly as Western Cape premier after the resignation of Ebrahim Rasool and was succeeded by Helen Zille when the DA won control of the province.
(Age 50, 28 June 1963)
Minister of Water and Sanitation
Gauteng Premier: 2009 – 2014
ANC National Executive Committee member: 2007 – present
Leader of the Gauteng province for the past five years, Mokonyane previously served as Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, MEC for Community Safety and Liaison and MEC for Housing, starting her climb up the provincial leadership ladder in the 1990s. She’s an ally of President Zuma and after the news emerged that she was being replaced as premier by David Makhura, was widely expected to make her way into Cabinet.
(Age 56, 21 April 1958)
Minister of Small Business Development
International relations adviser to President Jacob Zuma: 2009 – 2014
Lindiwe Zulu is a former Umkhonto weSizwe operative who went on to become an ambassador and is very close to President Jacob Zuma. Zulu has often been criticised for her tough style and no-nonsense approach, most notably when she was silenced after making critical comments about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZanuPF party. Mugabe later apologised for calling Zulu a “street woman”.
(Age 50, 30 September 1963)
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: 2009 - present
Limpopo Local Government and Housing MEC: 2005 - 2009
High Commissioner to India: 1999 - 2005
Nkoane-Mashabane was an active member in the United Democratic Front during the 1980s and, after the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, served the party in various structures. Notably, she was involved in the relaunch of the ANC Women’s League in the country. Nkoane-Mashabane was married to Norman Mashabane who was convicted of sexual harassment while serving as an ambassador in Indonesia. Mashabane died in a car accident while still fighting the claims against him.
Minister of Police
Director General, Department of Labour: 2011 – 2013
ANC Chief Whip: 2002 – 2004
Nkosinathi Nhleko’s tenure in two of his most high profile positions (ANC chief whip and Labour Department director-general) ended in controversial circumstances and sooner than many people would’ve expected. Nhleko was dropped as chief whip without much explanation, while Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant engineered his move to the Public Service and Administration Department in 2013 after their relationship broke down.
(Age 58, 28 February 1956)
Minister of Women in the Presidency
Minister of Mineral Resources: 2009 - 2014
Deputy Minister of Safety and Security: 2004 – 2009
Shabangu serves on the National Executive Council (NEC) of the ANC.
In April 2008 Shabangu made headlines in her role as Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, when she told an audience of police officers to “kill the bastards”, referring to criminals. While Minister of Mineral Resources Shabangu had to deal with Julius Malema’s calls to nationalise mines, which she did by saying that nationalisation was not government’s policy. She also had to deal with the fall-out from the Marikana massacre.
In 2003 Shabangu was charged with public indecency after an altercation with an airport security official in which she lifted her dress after repeatedly setting off a metal detector.
Minister of Labour: 2010 - present
Provincial Treasurer, ANC Women's League: 2008 - present
Mildred Oliphant was a passionate trade unionist and leader of SACCAWU, and has a strong interest in workers. She served as Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Services.
President Jacob Zuma has announced dozens of changes to his Cabinet of ministers and deputy ministers, including various new and combined portfolios. The president made the announcement at Tshedimosetso House in Hatfield, Pretoria, on Sunday. He says the Cabinet will be “tasked with improving and speeding up the implementation of our progressive policies and programmes”.
Zuma announced Cyril Ramaphosa would serve as Deputy President.
He also announced the formation of a new Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services which would be headed by Siyabonga Cwele, who was previously Minister of State Security.“We see a great developmental value in the Post Office, given its role of delivering financial services to remote areas of our country. This new department will ensure that the country derives more value out of the booming communications industry and the postal services sector.” Zuma also announced that the Ministry of Communications would now be responsible for “information dissemination, publicity and the branding of the country abroad” and be headed by Faith Muthambi. The ministry will also be responsible for the administration of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the Government Communications and Information System, Brand SA and the Media Development and Diversity Agency.
Zuma said the National Planning Commission and the Ministry in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation had been combined into one ministry which would also be responsible for youth development.
Further, Zuma said the functions related to support for people with disabilities and children would be transferred to the Ministry of Social Development, which would continue to be headed by Bathabile Dlamini. The Ministry of Women would now be located within the Presidency, he said, with Susan Shabangu at the helm.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will now be combined with the Department of Correctional Services, now named the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, headed by former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Michael Masutha.
Zuma said government would also place greater emphasis on water and sanitation with a new department headed by former Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane. This means the former Department of Water and Environmental Affairs will simply be responsible for the environment.
Finally, Zuma reiterated that “the economy will take centre stage” in the second term of his presidency, announcing the formation of a Ministry for Small Business Development.
By Craig Wynn, Dori van Loggerenberg, Sheldon Morais, Landi Groenewald, Janice Healing and Conrad Holtzhausen.