South African cabinet sworn in

PRETORIA — The new South African cabinet appointed by President Jacob Zuma has been  sworn into office. Zuma has said his priority is to ensure his ministers start delivering the governing ANC’s pledges.

PRETORIA — The new South African cabinet appointed by President Jacob Zuma has been  sworn into office. Zuma has said his priority is to ensure his ministers start delivering the governing ANC’s pledges.

He also expressed confidence that the financial markets would react positively to the appointment of the new finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.

The cabinet is expected to meet within the next week to map out its plan of action.

Zuma unveiled his new cabinet on Sunday a day after his inauguration. The African National Congress leader’s party won the general election last month, albeit with a slightly reduced majority. 

Zuma has named Pravin Gordhan as his new finance minister.

Gordhan replaces Trevor Manuel, the world’s longest-serving finance minister, who has been moved to head a new national planning body.

Aaron Motsoaledi has been appointed to the key post of health minister, as the country tackles an HIV/Aids epidemic.

Communist party leader Blade Nzimande was named minister of higher education and training, but analysts say it is not a post likely to give him much influence over economic policy.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe was named deputy president.

One of the biggest surprise appointments was Dr Pieter Mulder, leader of the Afrikaner nationalist Freedom Front Plus party, who becomes deputy minister of agriculture. This will give white Afrikaners a voice in government.

The ANC has pledged to improve education and healthcare, create jobs and tackle a soaring crime rate.

Zuma is under pressure from his grass-roots supporters to increase state spending on job creation, delivering services such as water, housing and electricity and improving the education system.

But analysts say investors would be alarmed if spending was increased too much.

Who is who in Zuma’s new Cabinet?

South Africa’s new ministers

Trevor Manuel was appointed to head a powerful new planning body on Sunday, keeping South Africa’s former finance minister at the heart of policy-making.

Here are some facts on key ministers named by President Jacob Zuma on Sunday:

TREVOR MANUEL

Manuel is a favourite among investors for his management of the economy over the past 13 years and presiding over market-friendly policies.

The 53-year-old was appointed to the post in 1996, he remains one of the highest-ranked members of the ruling ANC.

Manuel’s wife Maria Ramos took up a job heading one of South Africa’s top banks in March, which some critics say could present a conflict of interest. He married her last December.

PRAVIN GORDHAN

New finance minister Gordhan headed the South African Revenue Service since 1999, serving under Manuel, and has been praised for turning the tax authority into an efficient body that has repeatedly collected revenue over target.

Gordhan, of south Asian descent, was born in Durban in April 1949. He was a member of parliament between 1994 and 1998 for the ANC. He played a leading role in drafting the present Constitution.

In July 2006, he completed his term as Chairperson of the World Customs Organisation -- a position he held for an unprecedented five terms.

BLADE NZIMANDE

The general-secretary of the South African Communist Party was named Minister of Higher Education and Training. A Zuma ally who helped him rise to the top, he may demand payback in the form of more government spending on the poor.

SIPHIWE NYANDA

Nyanda, former South Africa National Defence Force chief, takes over communications, a crucial ministry with oversight of Telkom, Africa’s biggest telecoms firm.

AARON MOTSOALEDI

Health Minister, which will be one of the most challenging government posts. Around 1,000 people die every day from AIDS-related illnesses.

Government officials have infuriated AIDS activists by questioning accepted science around the virus, so Motsoaledi’s policies will be watched closely.

TOKYO SEXWALE

Human Settlements Minister. Politician turned businessman. Sexwale returned to active politics in 2007. He quickly built up a business empire spanning diamonds to banking, becoming one of the richest men in the country.

SUSAN SHABANGU

Shabangu has only held deputy ministerial positions before. Although those included mines and energy, her appointment as Mining Minister was something of a surprise.

She came to prominence as deputy security minister last year when she advised police dealing with criminals: “You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations.”

PIETER MULDER

Mulder’s appointment as deputy agriculture minister was a sign Zuma was trying to appeal to Afrikaners, many of whom feel marginalised 15 years after the end of white minority rule.

His party, the Freedom Front Plus, not only stands for Afrikaner rights but says its goal is to “attain freedom for the Afrikaner in a territory of his own.”

NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA

Accused by critics of embarrassing South Africa by backing governments with dubious human rights records, former foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma moved to home affairs. She is Zuma’s ex wife.

BARBARA HOGAN

Heads the public enterprises ministry, which oversees big state companies. Hogan had previously been at the health ministry, where she had made the fight against HIV-AIDS a priority. She criticised the government’s decision to stop a visit by the Dalai Lama.

MAITE NKOANA-MASHABANE

Minister of international relations and cooperation. Relatively unknown, Nkoana-Mashabane takes over foreign policy at a time when diplomatic power South Africa is under pressure to help strengthen Zimbabwe’s new unity government.

Agencies

 

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