While the general sentiment seems to be positive around newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden State of the Nation Address, there’s an air anticipation around a cabinet reshuffle.
This sense of anxiety was further exacerbated by Ramaphosa’s announcement that the size of, and number of government departments needed to be reviewed.
“It is critical that the structure and size of the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources,” Ramaphosa announced during his address on Friday evening.
“We will, therefore, initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.”
Mpumalanga Premier (and African National Congress Deputy President) David Mabuza, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and Minister in Presidency Jeff Radebe shared their views on the looming changes within government.
Mabuza has dismissed theories that Ramaphosa’s address was written even while Jacob Zuma was still in office. He also stated that the current Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, will be the one delivering the budget on Wednesday, quashing speculation that the cabinet reshuffle could take place before Wednesday, or even before the SONA debate on Monday.
“The Minister of Finance will deliver the budget,” he said. Asked if “whoever is Minister – or Malusi Gigaba in particular?” he responded, “The current minister will deliver the Budget.”
None of them dismissed the belief that a big shake up could be on the horizon, but they all say they will be ready for whatever comes their way. After all, it seems that everyone has picked up on the words of South Africa’s new President… “Thuma Mina…(Send me)”
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Meanwhile – Ramaphosa says criminal justice institutions are taking seriously, initiatives to deal with corruption in public institutions. He says a Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will expose culprits and help restore confidence in state-owned institutions.
“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions. The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture headed by the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly. The commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.”
Ramaphosa also announced the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance of the Revenue Services.