Cyril Ramaphosa to Announce New Cabinet Amidst Intense Negotiations

New Cabinet

Constitutional Authority for Cabinet Appointments

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announces his new Cabinet, he will invoke Section 91 (1) and (2) of the Constitution. This section states that the Cabinet consists of the president as the head, a deputy president, and ministers. The president has the power to appoint and dismiss these officials and assign their powers and functions.

Final Meetings with GNU Partners

Key Discussions with ANC Branches

This week, President Ramaphosa had final meetings with Government of National Unity (GNU) partners. The African National Congress (ANC) also rescheduled a critical meeting with its branches. These discussions were crucial as Ramaphosa presented his final Cabinet offers to GNU partners on Wednesday night.

If the offered ministerial and deputy ministerial posts are rejected, Ramaphosa will use his constitutional powers to appoint his Cabinet, as reported by News24.

DA’s Demands and Outcome

Insiders reveal that the Democratic Alliance (DA) initially demanded 11 Cabinet positions, including deputy roles and the power to appoint directors-general for their departments. However, they ended up with six posts. Among the 10 parties in the ANC’s GNU initiative, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) could also secure Cabinet positions.

A source explained, “We do not have a final list, but the approach to their demands is ‘take it or leave it’. The president invites you to serve in the Cabinet, and if they decline the offers, we move on. That is the approach we are taking.”

The DA reportedly avoided departments with high union presence, like police and health, due to the risk of public service strikes.

ANC’s Internal Challenges

Cancellation of Branch Meeting

The ANC canceled a scheduled meeting with its branches, initially set for June 29 and 30. ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula had called for this meeting to discuss the GNU decision. However, he withdrew the letter the next day, announcing the meetings would be rescheduled.

Strategic Considerations

The ANC faces a dilemma: engaging branches before the Cabinet announcement could lead to rejection of the process, while postponing it risks losing momentum. A source explained, “It’s a tough one. The ANC is caught between a rock and a hard place because what if the branches say, ‘Cancel these things, we are not even happy with the manner in which you handled this entire thing.'”

Final Stages of Negotiation

President’s Constitutional Authority

Despite the intense negotiations, President Ramaphosa is prepared to rely on his constitutional powers to finalize his Cabinet. Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya urged patience, stating, “Once the president concludes the consultations with GNU partners and the leadership of the governing party, he will apply his mind and exercise his prerogative as vested in him under Section 91(2) of the Constitution.”

Expert Opinion

Professor William Gumede, founder and executive chairperson of the Democracy Works Foundation, commented on the ANC’s challenges. He emphasized that forming a national Cabinet is unprecedented in South Africa and requires consensus rather than majority decision-making. Gumede noted, “The ANC already has the president and the speaker, and when you have parties in the GNU, one of those positions has to go to your partners. If it doesn’t, then you have to give your partners more Cabinet positions.”

Conclusion

The path to Ramaphosa’s final Cabinet announcement has been challenging, involving significant negotiations and strategic considerations. As South Africa awaits the final announcement, the outcome will shape the political landscape and balance of power within the GNU.

Ramaphosa now faces the task of finalizing and announcing his Cabinet, deciding who will share in his responsibilities and help govern the nation.

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