Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Monday, April 19, 2004

Cabinet Speculations

Firstly what are the criteria Mbeki is likely to be taking into account when considering his new cabinet? Continuity is going to be important, he will be looking to appease and maintain his support base within the ANC and reward those loyal to him, he will have to accommodate prominent personalities. He has shown that gender issues are important to him so we might see more women moving into ministerial positions possibly in the Tourism and Arts and Culture portfolio’s which we know need to be filled. Valli Moosa has already indicated that he is stepping down and Ben Ngobane has already stepped down from Arts and Culture.

Most important is the issue of the deputy presidency. Right now Mbeki and the ANC are concerned with who will succeed Mbeki and be our next president. The deputy presidency is seen to be the position indicating who the next president will be. There is a good chance that Jacob Zuma will remain as deputy president. Mbeki has indicated that he will not be pushed by Zuma’s alleged involvement in the arms deal, he is on record as saying Zuma is innocent until proven guilty. It’s important for Mbeki to keep internal ANC support and Zuma is extremely popular and powerful within the party. Other speculations have been that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will become deputy president, it is widely believed that Nkosazana is Mbeki’s favourite to succeed him. Mbeki will carry on playing a leading role in African affairs and relations on the continent after he steps down and Zuma who is totally loyal to him, with her foreign affairs background, will prove to be a strong ally to Mbeki’s African Rennaissance aims post-presidency.

Another important factor in deciding the cabinet is appeasing the local and international business communities. It is widely rumoured that Trevor Manuel will be leaving shortly to join the World Bank and that Alec Irwin will replace him. Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka has been mentioned as new Trade and Industry minister. Another speculation is that Sydney Mufumadi will move to Foreign Affairs. Buthelezi will also have to be accommodated somehow at national level.