South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday named a Cabinet that has as many women as men for the first time, AP reported. One of these women is a leader of an Opposition party, a rare instance.
Ramaphosa was re-elected to his post on May 22 after his African National Congress party returned to power in the legislative elections. His new Cabinet has 28 members, eight fewer than earlier. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan have retained their posts.
Jeff Radebe, who was the longest-serving minister and headed the energy ministry, did not get any post. Patricia de Lille, leader of Opposition’s Good Party and a former mayor of Cape Town, will be the public works minister.
David Mabuza, who faces corruption allegations, has been picked Ramaphosa’s deputy. The Opposition criticised the president for the choice, with the Democratic Alliance saying: “Unfortunately, Ramaphosa placed the internal factional interests of the ANC [African National Congress] ahead of the interests of the people of South Africa.”
Mabuza is also accused of getting opponents silenced and assassinated when he was the premier of the Mpumalanga province, according to Bloomberg. He has denied the allegations.
On February 14, Ramaphosa was declared the president of South Africa, a day after Jacob Zuma stepped down from the post. He was the deputy president in the Zuma-led government. Zuma resigned amid mounting pressure from the ANC. He had been accused of siphoning government money to build a luxurious home.
“The people who I am appointing today must realise that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and that they will shoulder a great responsibility,” Ramaphosa said in a national address, stressing the need for an “ethical” government.
In October, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had appointed a 20-member Cabinet, in which half the posts are held by women. Rwanda also has a gender-equal Cabinet.