South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has the full backing of the ruling African National Congress to reduce the size of the cabinet after the elections, senior official Fikile Mbalula said.
“Cabinet will be cut to below 30 positions,” Mbalula, the ANC’s head of elections and a former police minister, said in an interview on Thursday. “A study and a report has been done by the ANC and so it will be a reality.”
The comments come as results from Wednesday’s national election show the ruling party is on course to win a clear majority, bettering its performance in a municipal poll three years ago. That puts Ramaphosa, who has said he wants to reduce the size of the administration, in line for his first full five-year term as president after replacing Jacob Zuma as national leader last year. Currently there are 34 ministers and 35 deputy ministers in the executive.
Mbalula said Ramaphosa is safe as leader of the party but that he can’t speak for “dark forces”.
“All party members are 100% behind him,” he said at the national elections center in Pretoria. “The party has done well especially after the doldrums we were in before the elections. However, I cannot account for dark forces and what they want to do.”
Ramaphosa scored a narrow win in December 2017 to take leadership of the ANC and the party remains divided, stirring speculation that a faction allied to Zuma and Secretary-General Ace Magashule may seek to remove him. Magashule has denied the rumours.
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