The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has described as “well-balanced” the Cabinet appointed by President Jacob Zuma. Zuma made sweeping changes to the Cabinet on Sunday when he unveiled a team of 34 ministers that marks a break with the Thabo Mbeki era, but retains some of its most experienced people.
“While we are not happy with every single appointment, overall this is a very well-balanced government which reflects the spirit and themes of Polokwane,” the trade union said in a statement to the media.
While the trade union congratulated the appointed ministers, it advised some ministers to adhere to the Polokwane resolutions.
“Cosatu hopes that the ministers in the Presidency running the National Planning Commission and the Evaluation and Monitoring Unit will not let business interests influence government policy but that they will also be guided by the spirit of Polokwane,” the trade union said.
Trusted longtime finance minister Trevor Manual will work closely with Zuma as the head of the powerful new National Planning Commission created to implement government’s socio-economic vision.
Manuel will be succeeded at the Treasury by Pravin Gordhan, the South African Revenue Service Commissioner of the past decade, while trade unionist Ebrahim Patel becomes Economic Development Minister.
Zuma kept more experience by persuading a reportedly reluctant Kgalema Motlanthe to become his Deputy President.
He brought mining tycoon Tokyo Sexwale into Cabinet for the first time, giving him the vital Housing portfolio, as well as South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande who proved a key ally in his power struggle with ousted president Mbeki.
Others included Barbara Hogan, who will be sworn in Monday as Public Enterprises Minister after a lauded six-month stint as health minister, and the appointment of little-known Limpopo MEC Moate Nkoana-Mashabane as South Africa’s new top diplomat.
Outgoing foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma was named Interior Minister, while Aaron Motsoaledi will take over the health portfolio.
However, there was no room for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Madikizela-Mandela, 72, had been widely tipped to take up a senior Cabinet post, after topping the ANC’s National Executive Committee list at the party’s Polokwane conference.