South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took his first step toward revamping his cabinet after May 8 elections, removing Environment Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who’d been accused of taking bribes during a judicial probe.
Ramaphosa has made the fight against graft a top priority since taking office 15 months ago, replacing Jacob Zuma, whose nine-year tenure was marred by a litany of scandals. While he removed several Zuma appointees with tainted reputations from their cabinet posts, others remained as he sought to cement his control over the deeply divided ruling African National Congress — a problem he’s partly addressed by securing a five-year mandate from voters.
Mokonyane will take a senior position in parliament, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule told reporters in Cape Town on Monday after a meeting of the party’s decision-making National Executive Committee. Mokonyane has denied any wrongdoing.
The ANC has also decided to appoint Thandi Modise as speaker of Parliament in place of Baleka Mbete and Pemmy Majodina as its chief whip, in place of Jackson Mthembu. Mbete and Mthembu are both senior ANC members who backed Ramaphosa’s campaign to win control of the party in 2017, and could be in line for ministerial posts.
Ramaphosa is due to be sworn in on May 25 and name his cabinet a day or two later. He’s indicated he will trim his executive, which currently has 34 ministers and 35 deputies, to save costs.