Trade unionist and skillful ANC’s Chief negotiator during South Africa’s transition to democracy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who won South Africa Presidential election on May 11 with 57 percent of the total vote cast and sworn in as President on May 25 has named his cabinet — just about 96 hours after.
What is interesting is not just about the swiftness but Ramaphosa has become the third president on the continent to have a gender-balanced cabinet, after Rwanda and Ethiopia and indeed, the first gender balanced cabinet in South Africa.
While addressing the press on Wednesday evening at the Union Buildings in the capital city of Tshwane, Ramaphosa revealed that he had cut cabinet down the number of ministries in the country from 36 to 28.
The cabinet announced by the 66-year-old president had 14 men and 14 women to achieve gender parity.
“To promote greater coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency, we reduced the number of ministers from 36 to 28,” Ramaphosa said.
“This is a significant move of downscaling our state. Many people believed our government was bloated and this was agreed right across the board. All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing.
“It is therefore imperative, we place priority on revitalising our economy while exercising the greatest care in the use of public funds. For the first time in the history of our country, half of all ministers are women.”
Patricia De Lille, the leader of an opposition party and former mayor of Cape Town, was also named as minister of public works and infrastructure.
Reacting to her appointment, De Lille said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have received the call to serve as a Minister of South Africa’s new cabinet. I have fought for justice in our country for more than 40 years and have no plans to give up fighting.”
The South African rand reacted positively to Ramaphosa’s cabinet, strengthening by 0.5 percent, after an initial loss of one percent before he named the ministers.
Born November 17, 1952, Ramaphosa is a South African politician and the fifth and current President of South Africa. He became President following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
Previously an anti-apartheid activist, trade union leader and businessman, Ramaphosa served as the Deputy President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018.
He was elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) at the ANC National Conference in December 2017. He is also the former Chairman of the National Planning Commission,which is responsible for strategic planning for the future of the country, with the goal of rallying South Africa “around a common set of objectives and priorities to drive development over the longer term.”
Ramaphosa is well known as a businessman, and his estimated net worth is over R6.4 billion ($550 million) as of 2018,with 31 propertiesand previously-held notable ownership in companies such as McDonald’s South Africa, chair of the board for MTN and member of the board for Lonmin.