A few days after his inauguration, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced his new cabinet, 50 percent of which are women.
Ramaphosa made some key changes to the new cabinet; made a reduction from 36 to 28 portfolios, balance in gender representation, appointed a set of younger leaders and a critical drop of old ministers from the previous tenure accused of graft.
The new administration, which some describe as a “clean up” for the African country has welcomed a set of fresh reforms, which is expected to be free from corruption and any form of incompetence.
While commenting on the current state of the economy and his reason for arriving at this choice, the president said, “All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing and the constraints this has placed on public finances.”
The cabinet choice might be the first real test for the new president and may also have raised a few eyebrows among some popular political figures. In appointing the new lawmakers, a thorough approach was employed considering factors such as experience, continuity, and competence, before the decision was arrived at.
One notable appointment is Patricia De Lille, a leader of a recently created opposition party GOOD, which is a rare case of an opposition leader being appointed as Minister in South Africa. Lille will be serving as Minister of Public works and Infrastructure. While a strong exclusion from the new Cabinet is former Women’s minister, Bathabile Dlamini who has been seen as a strong ally of former President Zuma.
It is expected that the new appointment will restore citizens confidence in the economy. In his words, “The people who I am appointing today must realize that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and they will shoulder great responsibility,” President Ramaphosa said.
The move not only has economic impacts for the country, but it also promotes gender equality on all levels. Women participation in politics might be a prerequisite for gender equality according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the United Nation (UN), but not much has been done to promote political participation.
South Africa will be joining the list of African countries including Ethiopia and Rwanda to achieve gender balance in their ministerial cabinets.