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Appointment of Cabinet will be big test for GNU

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As South Africa waits with bated breath for the announcement of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet, business leaders have their eyes on key portfolios in the economic cluster.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to announce his new Cabinet in the coming days. Picture: Kopano Tlape, GCIS

AS SOUTH Africa waits with bated breath for the announcement of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet, business leaders have their eyes on key portfolios in the economic cluster.

While some are hoping the president will make bold decisions to bring about economic growth, as it stands the African National Congress (ANC) has indicated that it wants to retain control of key economic portfolios such as finance and labour as well as trade and industry.

Everest Wealth CEO Thys van Zyl says Ramaphosa has a great opportunity to steer South Africa’s economy in the right direction with the imminent Cabinet announcement.

“The government of national unity (GNU) offers the opportunity to embark on a new course and the big test will be whether Ramaphosa is going to be prepared to fill important positions with candidates who have the necessary qualifications, expertise and experience and can lead the country to accelerated growth and economic recovery,” said Van Zyl.

It is expected that Enoch Gondogwana will be retained as Finance Minister, despite earlier discussions about the possibility of a candidate from the private sector.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is likely to receive between five and seven Cabinet posts in the GNU and there are talks that ministries such as energy, trade and industry and water and sanitation could be offered to the former opposition party.

However, reports suggesting that the GNU could be planning to expand the size of an already bloated Cabinet could be seen as a step in the wrong direction, going against the DA’s fight against what it once called a wasteful ‘Patronage Cabinet’, Action SA Parliamentary Caucus Leader Athol Trollip said.

“The hypocrisy of the possible planned expansion marks what we believe to be the first of many compromises that will feature in the term ahead, undoubtedly undermining public trust and further entrenching a culture of political patronage,” said Trollip.

There is also concern about the policy differences between the parties and how these could be reconciled, Van Zyl added.

“State-owned enterprises, affirmative action, privatisation and foreign policy are some of the issues on which the parties differ and if agreement cannot be reached on important issues, this can make the establishment of a stable policy framework difficult”.

There should be urgent reform to address poverty, unemployment, inequality, crime and corruption, he added.

Investors are cautiously optimistic that the new unity government can deliver stable economic policies to revive growth, but the appointment of Ramaphosa’s Cabinet will be indicative of whether this will be the case.

“There is now the opportunity to appoint a competent and ethical Cabinet that will make policy directions clear and can accelerate projects to carry out economic reforms and to strengthen business and investor confidence,” Van Zyl concluded.

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