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Cyril Ramaphosa appoints former opposition leader as minister of agriculture

Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former opposition leader John Steenhuisen as Minister of Agriculture on Sunday, marking a significant step in his coalition government. The move came after Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) was compelled to form alliances with other parties to retain power, following a loss of its majority in the May 29 election – a first in three decades.

The announcement of the new cabinet, formed through extensive and sometimes contentious negotiations, also saw key appointments. Enoch Godongwana retained his position as Finance Minister, while Ronald Lamola took over as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation from Naledi Pandor. Gwede Mantashe continued as Minister of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, albeit with energy removed from his portfolio, a change intended to mitigate perceived bias towards coal energy.

Energy matters will now be overseen by Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. President Ramaphosa emphasized the diversity of his cabinet appointments, reflecting a collaborative approach in his new government.

The cabinet formation, finalized after debates over allocations, clears the way for addressing South Africa’s pressing challenges – reviving the economy, repairing infrastructure, and tackling unemployment that affects a third of the population.

Steenhuisen, expressing optimism for the future, affirmed his commitment to bringing substantive change as part of this new chapter in South Africa’s democratic journey.

The ANC, renowned for its role in ending apartheid under Nelson Mandela’s leadership thirty years ago, faced electoral setbacks but remains a central player in the country’s political landscape.

In other news – President Ramaphosa to announce a new National Executive at 9pm

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to unveil a new National Executive on Sunday at 9 PM, as announced by the Presidency. This address, to be broadcast nationwide, marks the establishment of the 7th Democratic Administration, formed from a Government of National Unity following the national and provincial elections held on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

Earlier reports indicated a breakthrough in negotiations between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding their participation in the cabinet. Read More

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