South Africa’s newly elected president, Cyril Ramaphosa, named a new cabinet on Monday. The sweeping cabinet reshuffle saw to the naming of twelve South African women ministers that brought the number of women in the cabinet to a total of 45 percent. In celebration of “Women History Month,” here are the 12 newly appointed female ministers of South Africa‘s cabinet.
Minister of Communications: Nomvula Makonyane
Starting her political career as a student activist, Mokonyane was repeatedly harassed and detained by the apartheid security police for supporting detainees’ families and youths in their fight for democratic student representative councils. The once Premier of Gauteng province, Mokonyane was involved in the re- establishment of the ANC and SACP structures, after the unbanning of political organizations in 1990. Prior to her appointment as Communications Minister, Mokonyane served as South Africa’s Water and Sanitation Minister and was at the forefront of the water crisis that hit the country. She was accused of maladministration for moving the timeline for South Africa’s Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Denying the accusation, she cited the need to involve more black-owned companies as the reason for the project delay. Mokonyane now occupies the position that was previously occupied by Faith Muthambi.
Minister of Higher Education and Training: Naledi Pandor
Fathered by a respected anti-apartheid activist and lawyer, Joe Matthew Pandor supervised a complete refurbishment of the Education system under her tenure as Education minister from 2004-2009. She also proposed reforms to the country’s perceived implementation failure of Outcomes Based Education (OBE). Pandor was appointed Minister of Science and Technology in May 2009 by President Jacob Zuma and later appointed to the position of Minister of Home Affairs in 2012. Naledi Pandor in 2017 questioned ANC’s inability to see through its 2016 decision to scrutinize party leaders’ lifestyles.
Minister of Human Settlements: Nomaindia Mfeketo
Mfeketo is the first black woman to be elected mayor of Cape Town in South Africa. She worked for a number of non-governmental organizations for at least 13 years before she gained entry into politics. She was involved in the negotiations that saw to South Africa’s transition to multiracial democracy in 1993. Once-time deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Mfeketo served as the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation before taking the baton from Lindiwe Sisulu who was the Minister for Human Settlements.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Lindiwe Sisulu
Sisulu’s interest in South Africa’s politics comes as no surprise as she is the daughter of ANC leaders Walter and Albertina Sisulu. She was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela over anti-apartheid activities. In previous years, she served as the Minister of Housing, Defence and Military Veterans and also of Public Service and Administration. The South African politician cum ex teacher is a member of parliament who has long been considered a potential presidential candidate. Sisulu succeeds Maite Nkoana-Mashabane who was the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
Minister of Public Service and Administration: Ayanda Dlodlo
With a number of post graduate qualifications in Management Development; Business Management and Executive Development Programme, Dlodlo worked with public enterprises such as Telkom in the areas of Human Resources, Transport, Strategic information and Industrial Relations. Before she was called to take the mantle from Hlengiwe Mkhize who was the Public and Administration minister, the one-time Minister of communication served as the Minister of Home Affairs.
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
The Limpopo raised Minister was an active member of the United Democratic Front and served in various structures of the Mass Democratic Movement and ANC’s underground structures. She has contributed to ANC Women’s League as she actively participated in the relaunch of the group in the country. Having served as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation twice in a roll, Nkoana-Mashabane is a member of the group of emerging economies under BRICS (Britain, Russia, India, China and South Africa). She replaces Gugile Nkwinti as the head of the department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
Minister of Science and Technology: Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
Kubayi-Ngubane took on the contested portfolio as South Africa’s communications minister briefly in 2017 and also served as minister of energy before her appointment as Minister of Science and Technology on 26 of February. Over the years, Kabiyi has served in various committees and was a Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Telecommunications and Portal Services.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Perceived as former President Zuma’s favorite candidate to succeed him as president, Dlamini-Zuma is an anti-apartheid activist who has a long history of serving in various ministerial capacities. She headed the ministerial position of the department of Foreign Affairs during Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe administrations, and was the Minister of Health while Nelson Mandela was president. Ex-wife to a former South African President, Dlamini-Zuma moved to the position of Minister of Home Affairs in the first term of President Zuma. The incumbent Minister for National Planning Commission for Policy and Evaluation, in the past have been accused by analysts of protecting Zuma from prosecution over corruption charges, however there are no evidence to this claim.
Minister of women in the Presidency: Bathabile Dlamini
Dlamini is the leader of the African National Congress Women’s League and was a former Minister of Social Development. Starting her political career from an early age, Dlamini is one of the founding members of Imbali Youth Organization, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front. With a history of fraudulent trails, Dlamini was one of ANC MPs to be implicated in South Africa’s “Travelgate” scandal that surrounded the abuse of parliamentary travel vouchers. She was later convicted of fraud after pleading guilty to R245,000 fraudulent travel claim, which led to losing her sit in the parliament.
Minister for Sport and Recreation: Tokozile Xasa
Former Minister of Tourism, Xasa is a teacher by profession and was once a Mayor of King Sabatha Dalindyebo District Municipal in South Africa. Prior to the time she was elected as Mayor, Xasa served Eastern Cape provincial government. She replaces Thembelani Nxesi as the Minister for Sport & Recreation.
Minister of State Security: Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
Having served as the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Letsatsi-Duba succeeds Bongani Bongo as the Minister of State Security. Born and raised in Gauteng, the minister went into exile to join ANC. She was the editor-in-chief for ANC’s Women’s Journal “Voice of Women” from 1992-1994. Letsatsi-Daba also served as a provincial treasurer for ANC in 2008.
Minister of Social Development: Susan Shabangu
She is one of ANC’s representative in the Parliament and was South Africa’s Minister of Mining from 2009-2014.