Why Ramaphosa had to delay appointing next cabinet

The President can’t appoint people with a cloud over their heads.
President Cyril Ramaphosa talks with deputy president, David Mabuza, after he sworn-in as lawmaker for the ANC. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

The delay in the appointment of South Africa’s new Cabinet after the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa on 25 May 2019 reflects the impact of two institutions: first, the governing African National Congress’s (ANC) integrity commission, and secondly, the Public Protector.

The ANC’s integrity commission’s job is to root out unethical conduct in the party. The Public Protector’s responsibility provides oversight over the government. It’s empowered to “investigate, report on and remedy improper conduct” by all state organs.

Ramaphosa needs both if he is to succeed in cleaning South Africa’s body politic of corruption. He therefore can’t afford to run roughshod over either.

All the incoming presidents since democracy in 1994 have announced their deputy presidents, cabinets and deputy ministers on the day after their inaugurations. Ramaphosa is the first who has not done so.

Since the inauguration, and until the members of a new cabinet are sworn in, South Africa is without a cabinet. For this period, Ramaphosa is the only member of the Executive. Not even the Deputy President is available.

The Constitution is clear about the fact that the President must assume office within five days after his election by Parliament. And that the first sitting of the National Assembly after an election must take place not later than 14 days after the election results are announced.

But it’s silent on the Cabinet. Theoretically, at least, this means that the President can continue without a cabinet for an unspecified period.

The main reason Ramaphosa hasn’t been able to act with haste is because the integrity commission has made unfavourable pronouncements against some prospective Cabinet members. One of them is his deputy David Mabuza. And, the Public Protector has recommended he take disciplinary action against Pravin Gordhan, his trusted former Public Enterprises Minister.

Ramaphosa couldn’t appoint people with a cloud over their heads, especially given his stated commitment to a clean and effective government.

ANC integrity commission

The ANC’s integrity commission was established under the party’s constitution. Any member accused of unethical or immoral conduct that can bring the ANC into disrepute can be referred to the commission by the party’s top six officials as well as its national executive committee (NEC). This is its highest decision making body in between its national conferences.

The integrity committee is made up of nine ANC veterans chaired by former Robben Island prisoner George Mashamba.

The ANC’s NEC flagged 22 people on the party’s 2019 parliamentary candidates’ list as potentially being improper. This included Mabuza and the Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. Both are also part of the ANC’s top six leaders. They are respectively the party’s deputy president and national chairman.

The integrity commission could potentially develop into a powerful organisational instrument in Ramaphosa’s drive against corruption, and to renew the ANC.

Public Protector

The Public Protector is one of the institutions established by the Constitution to support and protect South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

The Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has recommended that Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Gordhan, a trusted ANC colleague who has served as public enterprises minister, the country’s finance minister on two occasions, as well as head of the South African Revenue Service.

Mkhwebane has accused Gordhan of behaving illegally by approving an early retirement agreement with the deputy head of the South African Revenue Service, Ivan Pillay. Gordhan disputes the accusation and is challenging the public protector’s report in court.

It would be indefensible for Ramaphosa to ignore Mkhwebane’s report and to appoint Gordhan. Only a court judgment could set aside the public protector’s report.

The office of the Public Protector has the potential to be another indispensable instrument in Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption arsenal. He cannot, therefore, undermine it by ignoring a decision it has taken.

On the other hand, he will be loath to sacrifice Gordhan.


The seriousness of these considerations – and their dire impact on the executive – shows how respectful Ramaphosa is of these anti-corruption institutions.

The fact that he stood aside and allowed Mabuza, who was key to his election as president of the ANC in December 2017, to be put through the integrity commission’s processes even though this meant not pulling off a speedy appointment of the cabinet, is testimony to his determination to respect due process. Ramaphosa has also left Gordhan to deal with the Public Protector’s report.

After being cleared the integrity commission, Mabuza was due, belatedly, to be sworn in as an MP.

This has removed uncertainty about his future as Deputy President. But it’s given him ammunition for the future because he can point to the fact that he’s been exonerated of any wrongdoing by his own party.

Ramaphosa is inching closer to being able to make his vital cabinet appointments. He will want to do so as soon as possible. Constitutionally, the country’s executive power is vested in the President – but he exercises most of his power in concert with Cabinet members.

That’s not to say that this lacuna has left government departments entirely in limbo. They are still managed by directors-general, and the laws they have to implement are not affected by this situation.The Conversation

Dirk Kotze is professor in Political Science at the University of South Africa.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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It seems pretty clear that the public protector is not well named. EFF protector, VBS looters’ protector, or Zuma state capture protector would be a much better handle.

Already Mabuza seems to have been worth a chunk on the rand and leaving Pravin out would be worth an even bigger chunk. Putting a Des van Rooyen or a Lynne Brown in Pravin’s place would result in an immediate Moody’s downgrade. Yet their reputations are unsullied.

It totally beggars belief that only one she has found guilty in this entire state capture enterprise with its cast of thousands, is one stand out man of integrity.

No way can the country move forward with her running a chapter 9 institution. Her rulings may fool the BLF and the EFF, but that’s where it ends.

“Integrity Commission ” is a misnomer.

The ANC has no integrity. And, if as expected Manuza is named as Deputy, (he has already been sworn in as an MP)this will belie all Cyrils promises of clean Governance.

Ace still walks the streets as a free an after destroying the Free State, and there are many more like him, Jacob being the obvious example.

Heaven help us.

CR pressured as much from inside as outside. Again the long game has to played. Must be extremely difficult
to govern like that. Advocates Bathoi and Cronje needs to move swiftly. If CR goes prematurely SA will be on the verge of total political and economic collapse. The streets won’t be recognisable as such….

CR is as much to blame as the rest of the ANC. His major decisions involve either a festering compromise or a dehabilitating sacrifice.

Here is something practical that CR can do: amend the terms of reference of the Zondo commission and require it to furnish interim reports at regular intervals.

The commission should in fact be doing so without a requirement. All it has done so far is to be shocked.

This will force the commission to subpoena implicated persons and make interim recommendations.

On the current trajectory we may see a report in three years, while the NPA and SAPS are not lifting a finger. At the end the conclusion will be yes,things were very very bad let’s move on.

What a farce! They are just ticking a few boxes and in doing so Mabuza will now claim that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Their disciplinary process is no more serious than Helen’s tea with Thuli. The so-called clearance has only enhanced our collective headache

We have a criminal, self-serving ruling elite who uses a sham process, called the Integrity Commission, to fool naive voters and make them believe that incompetent and criminal leaders are in fact legitimate.

The chaotic process of the appointment of parliamentarians and the dilapidated state of those parliamentarians are reflections of the state of Luthuli House. They are supported by the majority of citizens, but among all those supporters they cannot find any people with integrity, so they have to panel-beat the available stock with an Integrity Commission. This commission is a recycling machine to clean corrupt politicians.

When corrupt rulers of a corrupt party use a corrupt process to legitimize corrupt politicians, they will put some lipstick on that pig and call it the Integrity Commission. Markus Jooste should give it a try. After appearing before this commission, he will be clean enough to become the minister of Finance.

With Ace being the Secretary Generalof the ANC we would expect nothing less.

A wolf in public protector clothing….

I think the photo says it all.

The Crux of the matter….CRANC still don’t listen to advice and once again mislead the voters! Chances are good Mabuza will be the deputy president, the Rand is already telling us that. But if you don’t want to listen you must feel. Sadly we will all feel it when the petrol price will soon(inevitable) break through the R20+ per litre.

on second thought…it would be naive for any right-minded person to think that anything will change….after all this is Africa.

“The office of the Public Protector has the potential to be another indispensable instrument in Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption arsenal. He cannot, therefore, undermine it by ignoring a decision it has taken.”

This lady has been a political pawn from day 1 and continues to be so, why anyone is surprised is beyond me. If Cyrill wants a proper public protector then get rid of her and put someone with values into place.

Cyrill is already devolving into the ANC standard, It seems like he is trying to do things but DD has him over a barrell depsite being run out of the North-West (I think). He still has guys like Ace running around who surely report directly to Zume still. Can’t see the recovery starting any time soon if ever.

That’s so unreasonable. There can’t be any ANC comrades without a cloud over their heads after 10 years of backing one of Africa’s most corrupt & incompetent presidents. They all fed of the same trough of corruption & that is not in dispute. A bankrupt economy is all the evidence we need. Plus we don’t need any more Busiswe, ANC Protector, cover ups.

But surely the REAL issue is that the ANC as a party is absolutely saturated with rotten individuals… especially at the senior level!

How could they even FIND enough ‘clean’ people. If they really had to be squeaky clean, that is. An impossible task I’m sure.

The ANC having their own “Integrity Commission’ is an irony and a level of stupidity probably only matched in Africa when Idi Amin awarded himself a Victoria Cross. The whole world knows he didn’t earn it. The whole world knows the ANC has ZERO integrity and is in fact a high-functioning mafiosi

End of comments.





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