SOUTH Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night made wide-ranging changes to his cabinet, bringing in new ministers of health, finance and, in the wake of recent civil unrest, defence and military veterans.
There were also new ministers appointed in the presidency, communications and digital technologies and human settlements, among others.
Below is Ramaphosa’s full address, as given to media. It has not been edited.
Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on changes to the national executive.
Fellow South Africans,
This evening I am announcing certain changes to the national executive. This comes at a time when the country is facing several challenges and we are called upon to undertake several tasks at once.
First, we are working to accelerate our vaccination programme to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, we are working to ensure peace and stability in the wake of the recent outbreak of violence and destruction in parts of the country. Third, we are mobilising all available resources and capabilities to rebuild our economy and provide relief to those most vulnerable.
I am therefore making changes to the national executive to improve the capacity of government to effectively undertake these tasks.
At the same time, there are a number of vacancies that need to be filled. These include vacancies created by the tragic passing of minister Jackson Mthembu and deputy minister Bavelile Hlongwa, and the appointment of former deputy minister Parks Tau as an MEC in Gauteng.
A further vacancy has arisen after the request I have received from minister Zwelini Mkhize to allow him to step down as the minister of health in order to bring certainty and stability to this important portfolio. I am grateful to minister Mkhize for his service, and particularly for the outstanding leadership he has provided in the face of the worst pandemic in over a century.
I have also accepted a long-standing request by minister Tito Mboweni to be excused from his position as minister of finance. Minister Mboweni took up this position after the sudden departure of former minister Nhlanhla Nene in October 2018. Since then, he has effectively and ably steered National Treasury through extremely difficult economic times, providing stability and instilling confidence.
I am grateful to minister Mboweni for responding to the call to serve our nation at its time of need.
We are making certain changes to the configuration of government departments and ministries.
The first of these is to separate the ministry of human settlements from the ministry of water and sanitation. At the beginning of this administration, we had brought these two portfolios together on the understanding that the provision of water is closely tied to the development of human settlements. However, the reality is that water is a far broader issue, impacting not only on human settlements, but also on agriculture, industry, mining and environmental management.
Water is our country’s most critical natural resource. Water security is fundamental to the lives and health of our people, to the stability of our society and to the growth and sustainability of our economy.
We have therefore decided that water and sanitation should be a separate ministry, which will enable a dedicated focus on ensuring that all South Africans have access to a secure and sustainable supply of this precious resource.
The second change we are making is to do away with the ministry of state security and place political responsibility for the State Security Agency in the Presidency. This is to ensure that the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence services more effectively enable the president to exercise his responsibility to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation.
With respect to ministers, I am making the after new appointments:
- The Presidency: Mr Mondli Gungubele
- Communications and digital technologies: Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
- Defence and military veterans: Ms Thandi Modise
- Finance: Mr Enoch Godongwana
- Health: Mr Joe Phaahla
- Human settlements: Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi
- Public service and administration: Ms Ayanda Dlodlo
- Small business development: Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
- Tourism: Ms Lindiwe Sisulu
- Water and Sanitation: Mr Senzo Mchunu
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be deployed to a new position, and we thank her for service to the nation and dedication to her responsibilities.
With respect to deputy ministers, I am making the after appointments:
- The Presidency: Ms Pinky Kekana will come in as a second deputy minister
- Agriculture, rural development and land reform: Ms Zoleka Capa
- Communications and digital technologies: Mr Philly Mapulane
- Co-operative governance and traditional affairs: Ms Thembi Nkadimeng
- Health: Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo
- Mineral resources and energy: Dr Nobuhle Nkabane
- Public service and administration: Dr Chana Pilane-Majake
- Small business development: Mr Sdumo Dlamini
- Transport: Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga
- Water and sanitation: Ms Dikeledi Magadzi
Mr Zizi Kodwa is appointed as deputy minister in the Presidency responsible for state security.
My fellow South Africans, three weeks have passed since the country experienced an orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage. I wish to once again commend the brave actions of our security forces on the ground, who were faced with a difficult situation and exercised commendable restraint to prevent any loss of life or further escalation.
While calm has been restored to the affected areas and our law enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those responsible to justice, we have acknowledged that our security services were found wanting in several respects.
As part of the critical measures we are undertaking to strengthen our security services and to prevent a recurrence of such events, I am appointing an expert panel to lead a thorough and critical review of our preparedness and the shortcomings in our response.
The members of the panel are:
- Prof Sandy Africa, as chair;
- Adv Mojanku Gumbi; and
- Mr Silumko Sokupa.
The panel will examine all aspects of our security response and will make recommendations on strengthening our capabilities.
To improve support to the President and the National Security Council in the strategic management of the country’s security, I am appointing Dr Sydney Mufamadi as National Security Adviser. This position has been vacant since Mr Charles Nqakula stepped down earlier this year.
I wish to express my deep appreciation to all outgoing ministers and deputy ministers for their service to government and to the people of South Africa.
The task of rebuilding our economy and our society requires urgency and focus. It requires co-operation among all sectors of society and the active involvement of all South Africans.
As this administration, as this collective, we are unwavering in our determination to build a capable state, one which is ably led and which effectively serves the needs of the people.
I thank you. □