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On Thursday 5th August 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa publicly announced some changes to the National Executive. This process has been referred to as a ‘cabinet reshuffle’. This is not the first reshuffle since the induction of President Ramaphosa, as shortly after being appointed President of the Republic of South Africa, two major changes in the National Executive occurred, one in February 2018 in which many ministers from the Zuma Administration were removed, and another in November 2018.

This year’s reshuffle was necessitated by the unfortunate passing away of Minister Jackson Mthembu and Deputy Minister Bavelile Hlongwa. Parks Tau was recently appointed as Gauteng MEC, leaving his deputy ministerial position in Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Minister Zweli Mkhize has resigned following the current Digital Vibes scandal, and there was a long standing request from Minister Tito Mboweni to be excused from his position as Minister of Finance.

Following the recent and unfortunate looting that was spread predominantly across KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng, it appears that President Ramaphosa has decided that a fresh substitution of the cabinet may be in order. The following changes were made:

Mondli Gungubele stands in for the late Jackson Mthembu for the Presidency;

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni replaces Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in the Ministry for Communications and Digital Technologies;

Minister Nabeni-Abrahams will now take the roll of Minister of Small Business Development in the place of Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni;
Thandi Modise steps up to the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans, replacing Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula;

As a result of Minister Tito Mboweni’s request to be excused from the position of Minister of Finance, Minister Enoch Godongwana will stand in his stead;

Minister Joe Phaahla stands in as the Minister of Health following Minister Zweli Mkhize’s resignation;
Ayanda Dlodlo is appointed as the Minister of Public Service and Administration, replacing Minister Senzo Mchunu.

President Cyril Ramaphosa separated the Ministry of Human Settlements from the Ministry of Water and Sanitation (previously collective under a single Ministry). Minister Senzo Mchunu leads the role of Water and Sanitation, Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi takes charge at the Ministry of Human Settlements. Lindiwe Sisulu will leave her position in this Ministry to lead the Ministry of Tourism.
The most interesting, and possibly controversial change is that President Ramaphosa has removed the Minister of Intelligence from her role, and has subsequently instructed that the State Security Agency shall now be housed in the office of The Presidency and will therefore report to him directly.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip, John Steenhuizen, has voiced his concerns about such a move. He further states, “The country’s intelligence machinery should not rest in the hands of the president – this centralising of power has never been a good idea.”

The Constitution has always strived to enforce the doctrine of the Separation of Powers; meaning that the judiciary, legislature and the executive should always be separated to ensure impartiality and that no one arm of government can control another. It is certainly a debate worth having of whether this system of checks and balances has been encroached upon, or whether this was a move necessary to ensure safety and stability in the country following the recent civil unrest.

Written by Duncan O’Connor (Associate)

This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal advice on any specific matter. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to the law as at the time of writing and will change in accordance with any change in the law. We recommend that you contact HJW Attorneys at directly for advice applicable to your specific matter.