Minister of Human Settlement Tokyo Sexwale, Minister of Communications Dina Pule and Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Richard Baloyi were the axed from cabinet.
“I think the reshuffle was a long time coming. Since Mangaung, Zuma has been assuring those who opposed him for his second term that he’s not going to punish them by removing them from government. If you look at today’s reshuffle, we see only one of the Mangaung so-called losers, Sexwale, exiting from cabinet. But there were some pressing challenges, of course,” an in-house political analyst told CNBC Africa on Tuesday.
African National Congress member of parliament Connie September will replace Sexwale’s cabinet position. Former Minister Pule, who has failed to make significant progress in the Communications portfolio since her tenure, will be replaced by Yunis Carrim, the former deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
This was Zuma’s fourth cabinet reshuffle in four years.
Significant reshuffles were in the transport and energy ministries, where former transport minister Ben Martins swapped places with former minister of energy Dipuo Peters.
Martins’ appointment to the energy portfolio is particularly significant as he is now expected to manage conflicting interests in renewable energy and nuclear energy. The discovery of nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the Karoo will add to the huge responsibility of the energy portfolio as the discovery changes the policy environment in energy.
“Martins has been in the transport portfolio for all of 10 months so there hasn’t been really a sufficient amount of time to assess whether or not he’s made a positive impact on transport. But president Zuma seems to have a growing amount of confidence in him and has given him the energy portfolio. At first glance it might not appear to be a promotion of any particular kind. However the energy sector is emerging as a very big policy space in the South African economy,” said Africa Practice senior political and policy analyst Vukani Mde.
Lechesa Tsenoli’s new cabinet position as the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs will be significant in boosting service delivery between now and during election season. Tsenoli will replace former minister Richard Baloyi, who was also axed from cabinet.
“The cooperative government and traditional affairs portfolio is going to be one of those portfolios that are going to be important in an election cycle. It has to do with governance at the local level and the coalface of delivery,” said Mde.
“While Richard Baloyi may not have done a lot wrong, there is a perception that he lacks the dynamism and finger on the pulse of the portfolio. The elections are central to that.”
Tsenoli was the former deputy minister of rural development and land reform. His previous position will be filled by ANC member of parliament Pamela Tshwete.