South Africa’s Ramaphosa Announces New Cabinet

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

More From Me

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of the African National Congress (ANC) has announced the country’s new cabinet, which includes six ministers from the Democratic Alliance. The announcement followed a failed effort by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) last week to form its own coalition with the ANC to prevent the formation of a “Grand coalition with the racist DA.”

What You Need to Know

The DA, South Africa’s second largest political party, secured six Ministerial positions as well as Six Deputy Ministerial positions in the new cabinet. The ANC’s Senzo Mchunu, former Minister for Water and Sanitation has received the position of Minister of Police, replacing the ANC’s Bheki Cele.

John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, secured the role of Agriculture Minister, which had been separated from the Ministry of Land Reform and Rural Development, while the DA’s Siviwe Gwarube was appointed to the Ministry of Basic Education.

Additionally, the DA’s Dean Macpherson, Leon Schreiber, Dion George, and Solly Malatsi, were appointed to the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies, respectively.

In terms of Deputy Ministerial roles, the DA has secured Deputy Ministers in the Ministry of Finance, Higher Education, Energy and Electricity, Small Business and Development, Trade, Industry and Competition, as well as Water and Sanitation, while the ANC’s Paul Mashatile was appointed to Deputy President and the DA’s Annelie Lotriet as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

So, What Now?

With the ANC unable to secure for itself more than 50 percent of the national vote on May 29th, a Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed at the behest of incumbent Ramaphosa in order to incorporate various parties into the country’s 7th Parliament. Initially, a letter of intent was signed between the ANC and DA. However, additional parties have signed the letter in recent weeks, including Al Jama-ah, the United Democratic Movement, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, and the United African Transformation party, which intially joined the Progressive Caucas opposition alliance before defecting to the GNU.

The Progressive Caucas’s largest members, Julius Malema’s EFF and Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto WeSizwe (MK), have in recent weeks stepped up their anti-GNU rhetoric, with the MK stating on June 18th that its 58 parliamentary members would not attend the inauguration of President Ramaphosa.

“The Umkhonto WeSizwe Party, the Official Opposition of South Africa, will not participate in the farcical inauguration of Cyril Ramaphosa as the puppet DA-sponsored President tomorrow.

We refuse join in the spitting of the graves of those who died for this freedom by attending the symbolic wedding ceremony of a house negro called Ramaphosa, with the slave master, Hellen Zille,” the MK’s statement read.

Releasing its own statement today, the EFF “Noted the announcement by Cyril Ramaphosa of what is essentially an ANC-DA cabinet, confirming our longstanding view that the “government of nation unity” (GNU) was nothing but a smokescreen for the ANC to secure a predetermined grand coalition with the racist DA.”

Continuing, “This announcement by Cyril Ramaphosa confirms that the ANC has abandoned its historical role as a liberation movement in Africa, and has solidified its role as an instrument of white supremacy, and domestic and global capital on the continent. By gifting the DA six (6) ministerial posts, and six (6) deputy ministerial roles, on-top of the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the ANC has surpassed the compromises they made in 1994.”

Adding to the country’s race discussions was the swearing in of Andile Mngxitama, an MK party Parlimentarian on June 25th.

A leader of the Black Land First (BLF) movement, Mngxitama was filmed at a 2018 BLF event in Potchefstroom, calling for the killings of whites. In the speech, Mngxitama stated, “We’ll kill their children. We’ll kill their women. We’ll kill anything that we find on our way… We’ll kill their dogs. We’ll kill their cats. We’ll kill anything that comes before us,” claiming that every black person killed by taxi violence in South Africa would result in the killing of five white people.

A petition to remove Mngxitama as an MP has been launched, and has gained over 10,000 signatures in a matter of days. However, a counter-petition over Mngxitama’s alleged hate speech was also launched, and has gained over 7,000 signatures in the same time span.

While Mngxitama is unlikely to be removed as an MP, the issue, alongside the EFF and MK’s claims of DA racism does highlight South Africa’s long standing difficulties in creating a society less solidified in ‘race-blocs.’