cabinet ramaphosa Patricia de Lille South Africa

Patricia de Lille / Imae ge supplied

Cabinet announcement: Five of the biggest surprises from Cyril’s shake-up

We may have had to wait, but the cabinet announcement has its fair share of twists and turns. Here’s who got the boot, and who’s lived to fight another day.

cabinet ramaphosa Patricia de Lille South Africa

Patricia de Lille / Imae ge supplied

Exactly three weeks to the day since South Africa went to the polls, Cyril Ramaphosa has finally given us the Cabinet announcement, confirming which politicians will serve South Africa in its sixth Parliament.

David Mabuza – otherwise known as “the cat” – has retained the deputy presidency, despite something of a wobble in the past week. The 58-year-old postponed his swearing-in ceremony to clear his name at the ANC Integrity Commission – it seems he’s done enough to stay in Cyril’s good books for the time being.

However, some members haven’t been so lucky: In a more streamline Cabinet, Ramaphosa has chopped and changed some departments, cutting down his ministry from 36 to just 28. Here are the most eye-catching decisions:

Cabinet announcement: Cyril’s biggest calls

Pravin Gordhan

Remains as Public Enterprises Minister

Cyril has stuck to his guns on this one, in what will surely draw the ire of the EFF and some factions of his own party. Despite the public protector announcing Gordhan must face remedial action, he’s still managed to secure the presidential seal of approval. This could be seen as a conflicting call ahead of the promised “new dawn”.

Bathabile Dlamini

Ejected as Minister of Women

It’s a case of “bye bye Bathabile“, as Cyril Ramaphosa has wielded his axe and dismissed her from the Cabinet. Dlamini has never faced true accountability for her awful time in charge of the Social Development Department, and despite a brief stay as Women’s Minister, she has finally run out of road.

Fikile Mbalula

From Zondo Commission to Transport Minister

The new Transport Minister was implicated at the state capture inquiry. But it would seem like Mbaks has done a “good enough” job of explaining himself. He has previously admitted to meeting the Guptas but also claims he tried to raise the concerns he had with the billionaires’ influence during Jacob Zuma’s first term as president.

Patricia de Lille

Good Party leader becomes the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure

Wow. Where exactly did this come from? Don’t get it twisted, Aunty Pat does have those Cabinet credentials – but it’s raising more questions than answers. When exactly did Ramaphosa have this brainwave, and what will become of de Lille’s Good Party? Either way, the prospect of her clashing with the DA in Parliament just got even spicier.

Jackson Mthembu

Will assume a role alongside President Ramaphosa

Okay, perhaps not a massive surprise, but it’s still one to raise the eyebrows. The fact he’d given up his role as party whip suggested he was ready for a break, but Jackson’s back in the action as a Minister of the Presidency. His duties will see him work closely with both Ramaphosa and David Mabuza.