Ramaphosa Finally Unveils His Coalition Cabinet, Gives DA Six Ministries

After a two-week delay marred by frosty talks between his governing ANC and opposition parties, President Cyril Ramaphosa finally unveiled his grand coalition cabinet, allocating several cabinet posts to the Democratic Alliance (DA) and eight other opposition parties.

In a televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa appointed six DA ministers, including party leader John Steenhuisen, who took over the Department of Agriculture, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Velenkosi Hlabisa, Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) president Mzwanele Nyhontso.

Hlabisa is the new Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), McKenzie is heading the Sports, Arts and Culture ministry, and Nyhontso oversees the Department of Land and Rural Development.

The president retained ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile as the country’s Deputy President, brushing aside the DA’s demand for the party to take over the post.

Despite his earlier pledge to reduce the size of his cabinet, Ramaphosa expanded the executive, reconfigured some of the ministries, and demoted some ANC ministers including Sihle Zikalala, Joe Phaahla and Mondli Gungubele, who are now deputy ministers.

The parties forming part of Ramaphosa’s grand coalition include the ANC, DA, PA, IFP, Good Party (GOOD), PAC, FF+, UDM, Al Jama-ah, Rise Mzansi and the United Africans Transformation (UAC).

The president said his new cabinet, framed as a Government of National Unity (GNU), was appointed on merit, hard work and geographical spread and would improve service delivery.

“The incoming government will prioritize rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and the creation of a more just society by tackling poverty and inequality. The establishment of the Government of National Unity in its current form is unprecedented in the history of our democracy.”

“We have had to consider how to form the new government in a manner that advances the national interest, that gives due consideration to the outcome of the election and that makes use of the respective capabilities within each of the parties. We have had to consider not only the immediate needs of the country. We have also had to consider the stability, effectiveness and durability of the government we are establishing,” said Ramaphosa.

Here are members of Ramaphosa’s new executive:

  • Agriculture: John Steenhuisen (DA) and Rosemary Nokuzola Capa (ANC)
  • Land Reform and Rural Development: Mzwanele Nyhontso (IFP) and former Limpopo Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha (ANC);
  • Basic Education: Siviwe Gwarube (DA) and Reginah Mhaule (ANC);
  • Communications and Digital Technologies: Solly Malatsi (DA) and Mondli Gungubele (ANC);
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Velinkosi Hlabisa (IFP), Dickson Masemola (ANC), and Zolile Burns‐Ncamashe;
  • Defence and Military Veterans: Angie Motshekga (ANC), Bantu Holomisa (UDM) and Richard Mkhungo;
  • Electricity and Energy: Kgosientsho Ramokgopa and (ANC) Samantha Graham (DA);
  • Science, Technology and Innovation: Blade Nzimande (ANC) and Nomalungelo Gina;
  • Employment and Labour: Nomakhosazana Meth (ANC) Jomo Sibiya, and Phumzile Mgcina;
  • Finance: Enoch Godongwana (ANC), David Masondo (ANC), and Ashor Sarupen (DA).
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment: Dion George (DA), Narend Singh (IFP), and Bernice Swarts;
  • Health: Aaron Motsoaledi (ANC) and Joe Phaahla (ANC);
  • Higher Education: Nobuhle Nkabane (ANC), Buti Manamela, and Mimmy Gondwe (DA)
  • Home Affairs: Leon Schreiber (DA) and Njabulo Nzuza (ANC);
  • Human Settlements: Mmamoloko Kubayi (ANC) and Tandi Mahambehlala (ANC)
  • International Relations and Cooperation: Ronald Lamola (ANC), Alvin Botes (ANC), and Tandi Moraka (ANC);
  • Justice and Constitutional Development: Thembi Nkadimeng (ANC) and Andries Nel (ANC);
  • Mineral and Petroleum Resources: Gwede Mantashe (ANC) and Judith Nemadzinga‐Tshabalala (ANC);
  • Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Maropene Ramokgopa (ANC) and Seiso Mohai.
  • Police: Senzo Mchunu (ANC), Polly Boshielo (ANC), and Cassel Mathale (ANC);
  • Presidency: Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (ANC), Nonceba Mhlauli (ANC), and Kenneth Morolong (ANC);
  • Public Service and Administration: Mzamo Buthelezi (IFP) and Pinky Kekana (ANC);
  • Public Works and Infrastructure: Dean Macpherson (DA) and Sihle Zikalala (ANC);
  • Small Business Development: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (ANC) and Jane Sithole (DA);
  • Social Development: Sisisi Tolashe (ANC) and Ganief Hendricks (Al-Jama-ah);
  • Sport, Arts and Culture: Gayton McKenzie (PA) and Peace Mabe;
  • Tourism: Patricia De Lille (Good) and Maggie Sotyu;
  • Trade, Industry and Competition: Parks Tau (ANC), Zuko Godlimpi, and Andrew Whitfield (DA);
  • Transport: Barbara Creecy (ANC) and Mkhuleko Hlengwa (IFP);
  • Water and Sanitation: Pemmy Majodina (ANC), David Mahlobo (ANC), and Isaac Seitlholo (DA);
  • Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities: Sindisiwe Chikunga (ANC) and Mmapaseka Steve Letsike;
  • Correctional Services: Pieter Groenewald (FF Plus) and Lindiwe Ntshalintshali (ANC);

The president said his new team has to toe the government line despite being drawn from various parties with different ideologies.

“These men and women we have appointed to the executive are drawn from all corners of our country. They reflect the diversity of our nation. They have a responsibility to work together to serve the people as a whole. None of the members of the National Executive has been appointed to serve the interests of a particular constituency, a particular party or a particular section of society,” Ramaphosa said.

He also made a few changes to the portfolios by merging and breaking up some. He announced the following reconfiguration of some of the ministries:

  • Electricity and Energy ministries merging into one;
  • Mineral and Petroleum Resources getting its own ministry;
  • Agriculture and Land Reform & Rural Development splitting into separate ministries;
  • Higher Education and Science, Technology & Innovation also becoming separate ministries;
  • Justice and Constitutional Development separating from Correctional Services; and
  • Public Enterprises ministry being dissolved, with its functions moving to the Presidency.

Ramaphosa was highly anticipated to announce his cabinet following his swearing-in as a member of the National Assembly and consequent parliamentary re-election as head of state on June 14, 2024. He was inaugurated on June 19.

The May 29th election left South Africa in limbo, especially since the ANC failed to receive an outright majority (50% +1 of the vote) in the national elections for the first time in 30 years.

A scramble for the formation of coalitions to govern the country became the talk of the town, with international markets reacting to each step taken, as indicated by the volatile rand, in what was seen as currency manipulation to influence political decisions.

Following a litany of public squabbles between the ANC and DA, where cracks started to show, leading to speculation that negotiations between the two parties were breaking down, final details were eventually ironed out in what is now known as the GNU Statement of Intent.

A week ago, Ramaphosa lashed out at the DA GNU negotiators, led by the “blue party’s” Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille and former leader Tony Leon, stating they were negotiating in “bad faith.”

Ramaphosa’s letter in response to the DA’s constantly leaked communications with the ANC’s lead negotiator, Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, and their demands for more than 10 key portfolios including the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Gleaning the cracks, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which initially rejected the concept of a GNU, sat down with the ANC negotiators and proposed a left-wing alliance that excluded the DA and Afrikaner nationalist party Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

The private negotiations were this weekend released in a follow-up letter to Mbalula, which the EFF released publicly, citing the need for “transparency.” The EFF said it had proposed a centre-left coalition with the ANC that excluded the DA and FF Plus. It added it had offered to join Ramaphosa’s government without an obligation on his part to appoint EFF leaders to his executive.

However, the EFF’s proposal was met with mixed reactions, with some saying it was “too little too late”. Others thought it was just a publicity stunt to show South Africans that the ANC had an alternative to going into government with the DA.



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