There has been a changing of the guard: Cyril Ramaphosa is now the President of South Africa. Ramaphosa is not expected to change the rest of the guard quickly but he is likely to move Malusi Gigaba out of the finance ministry. However, any changes are unlikely to occur before next Wednesday’s budget vote
Ramaphosa was seen jogging with former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, sparking speculation that Manuel was set for a comeback. However, Ramaphosa and Manuel have long been friends – and Ramaphosa served as chairperson of the national development plan while Manuel was his minister in charge.
Manuel now has top jobs in the private sector and the likelihood of him returning are remote.
It was speculated at the time of Ramaphosa’s election as president of the African National Congress that former ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize – himself a candidate for the ANC presidency in the run up to the December elective conference – would be rewarded with the finance ministry. Mkhize would need to be provided with a seat in parliament for this to occur.
Stef Terblanche, an analyst, says former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene could also be brought back – but he too has top jobs in the private sector and has indicated that he would not be returning to politics. Former SA Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni – who was a top ranker in the elections for the national executive committee – is also a possibility. Mboweni would also need to return to parliament to take up the finance ministry.
However, most commentators believe that Malusi Gigaba will survive at least until after the budget. He long stood by President Jacob Zuma – although he recently called on Zuma to resign, thereby switching sides –
Ramaphosa has previously warned against wanton cabinet reshuffles in the past – so he is likely to make any changes to the cabinet, including a shrinkage of its size – after due consultation with the NEC and the ANC alliance partners: the SA Communist Party and Cosatu.