The time for South Africa’s Ramaphosa to stand true to his word is now

Realizing the increasing loss of faith in South Africa’s ruling African National Congress due to years of state capture, President Cyril Ramaphosa, prior to the elections promised to fight corruption and revive the economy. This he said he would do without fear or favour to party members.

Now he has succeeded in leading the ANC to a sixth straight election victory, though with a decreased majority of 57. 51 percent, the time to keep to his pre-election promises—“we are determined that those found guilty of corruption or involvement in state capture will not be allowed to occupy positions of responsibility, either in the ANC, in parliament or in government” —is now.

For a long time, the president has been accused of having a large cabinet and has been urged, repeatedly, to cut down the size of his executive to save money. But it is still uncertain if the President would do so after his swearing-in on May 25, one thing is certain, South Africans are looking up to him to pick a cabinet that can dismantle corruption that has eaten deep into the country and stagnated the country’s economic growth.

When Ramaphosa took office as South Africa’s president on February 15, 2018, following the ousting of former president Jacob Zuma, he promised a new dawn. Although he relieved several ministers who had tainted reputations of the duties, some others who were also neck-deep in corruptions still head ministries and government parastatals. People like, the Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and deputy president David Mabuza who were both accused of corruption and taking bribes, remained in office.

Ramaphosa noted that he would address South African’s concerns —
a struggling economy, corruption and mass unemployment which led to the ANC’s reduced majority in this election. “As the leadership, we are going to go back to all those communities which were raising issues. We have learnt our lesson. We have heard the people of South Africa. We have heard the very clear message of what they expect from us,” he stated.

Hopefully, when choosing his cabinet, he would ensure that those under the corruption radar who are yet to be found guilty do occupy an official position, as well return all the money laundered under former President Jacob Zuma. The president has the exclusive right to select ministers from the National Assembly’s 400 lawmakers.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, who noted that the president had not made any decision on a new cabinet, confirmed that the reconfiguration process is at a very advanced stage. “He is going to consult thoroughly and you know that Cabinet is set up by the governing party, which is the ANC in this case,” said Diko.

On another note, the Sunday Independent reported that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu and former Minister of Health, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are both waiting to take over from David Mabuza as deputy president.