South African media welcomes new cabinet

11th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Changes to the new South African President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet have been touted as the ruling party’s willingness to compromise amid the economic downturn.

JOHANNESBURG – New South African President Jacob Zuma's cabinet appointments show a willingness to compromise to address the country's deep social and economic woes, local newspapers reported Monday.

"Overall, Zuma's cabinet is what it had to be under the circumstances: a carefully constructed compromise between his need to keep governing alliance together, and the country's now pressing demand that the ruling party deliver on its promises," Business Day said.

High on the list of changes was former finance minister Trevor Manuel's appointment as head of a newly formed Planning Commission in the presidency – described by the media as a "super ministry".

Manuel's replacement by revenue collection boss Pravin Gordhan was widely praised.

"Gordhan represents continuity and predictability, which markets like... and Manuel's retention in the cabinet will be popular for the same reason," said Business Day.

The Times newspaper said Zuma's cabinet sent positive signals.

"He has started the presidency on a bright note, staying away from rancour and vengeance in favour of reconciliation and harmony," read the paper's editorial.

Surprises included the white Afrikaans minority group being represented by the appointment of Pieter Mulder of the Freedom Front Plus as deputy minister of agriculture.

The appointment of a number of the ruling African National Congress party's leftist allies also caused some discomfort.

"Naturally there will be misgivings about some of the names included and those excluded. But warts and all, Zuma and these men and women are our government," said the Sowetan editorial.

Prominent leftist allies that made it to cabinet include Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, who takes over the higher education portfolio, and unionist Ebrahim Patel, who will lead economic development.

AFP / Expatica

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