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Who’s who in South Africa’s new cabinet

Published on 27/02/2018

South Africa's new President Cyril Ramaphosa has reshuffled the cabinet to bring reformers to several key ministries while axing graft-tainted allies of ex-leader Jacob Zuma.

Here are short profiles of some of the key ministers:

– Deputy President: David Mabuza, 57 –

A provincial leader until last week, Mabuza was thrust into national politics when he was elected in December as the ruling African National Congress party’s second most powerful official.

The controversial politician, a former schoolteacher nicknamed “The Cat”, has a reputation as a hardliner and an astute political strategist.

Opponents routinely accuse him of having his own private “military” which is allegedly linked to political intimidation and even killings.

– Finance Minister: Nhlanhla Nene, 59 –

Respected among investors and business leaders, Nene served as finance minister for 18 months until he was dramatically sacked by Zuma in December 2015.

His dismissal caused the markets and the rand currency to tumble.

He went on to hold a board-level position at the Allan Gray fund management company.

– Public Enterprises: Pravin Gordhan, 68

A pharmacist by training, he was finance minister from 2009 until 2014 and again from 2015 until 2017 when he was fired by Zuma in a purge of rivals and critics.

He was controversially investigated over an alleged team of rogue taxmen at the country’s revenue collection agency which he previously headed.

Softly-spoken and measured in public yet tough behind the scenes, Gordhan earned an international reputation for fiscal prudence and for being a bulwark against government corruption.

He will be expected to root-out graft and waste at state-owned businesses like troubled electricity monopoly Eskom and embattled South African Airways.

– Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 69 –

Ex-wife of scandal-plagued Zuma, Dlamini-Zuma is a veteran politician and an experienced technocrat who has served as a minister under every president since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

She is one of the most experienced ministers of the post-apartheid era having held the home affairs, health and foreign affairs portfolios.

She was also chair of the African Union Commission until last year. She narrowly lost to Ramaphosa in the race to lead the ANC.

– Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba, 46 –

One of the few younger ministers in the cabinet, Gigaba is one of the only perceived Zuma allies to have survived Monday night’s reshuffle which claimed the scalps of at least 10 ministers seen as loyal to the former leader.

They, like Gigaba, were seen as being connected to the Guptas, a controversial and wealthy Indian immigrant family alleged to have been at the centre of government corruption in South Africa.

Gigaba was shifted from the finance ministry where he had been for just under a year.