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Ramaphosa Forms Coalition Cabinet with Former Opposition Leader

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Griffith Sarah

Jul 1, 2024

New Government Aims to Revive Economy and Address Key Infrastructure Issues

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former opposition leader John Steenhuisen as the new Minister of Agriculture on Sunday. This move comes after Ramaphosa's African National Congress (ANC) lost its parliamentary majority in the May 29 election, leading to the formation of a coalition government with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other parties.

The new cabinet, announced after protracted negotiations, includes ANC's Enoch Godongwana as Finance Minister and Ronald Lamola as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, replacing Naledi Pandor. Gwede Mantashe retained his position as Minister of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, but the energy portfolio was reassigned to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

Ramaphosa emphasized the diversity and collaborative spirit of the new executive, expressing optimism about the government's ability to revive the economy and address infrastructure and unemployment issues. Steenhuisen echoed this sentiment, highlighting the potential for significant change.

The ANC's electoral setback was attributed to public dissatisfaction with its performance on essential services like water, education, and electricity. Analysts like Melanie Verwoerd view the new cabinet as a positive development but caution that the coalition's success will depend on reconciling ideological differences, particularly around Black empowerment programs, land expropriation, and minimum wage policies.

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