Radebe seen as biggest cabinet winner

FORMER justice and constitutional affairs minister Jeff Radebe appears to be the biggest winner in President Jacob Zuma's new cabinet announced on Sunday evening.

Radebe will now be the longest-serving cabinet minister of the new South Africa since former finance minister Trevor Manuel resigned from active politics just before the May national and provincial elections.

A former transport minister‚ Radebe has been Zuma's point man on a number of public scandals including the justification of the R246-million spent on Zuma's private residence in Nkandla‚ and the landing of a private jet owned by the politically connected Gupta family at Waterkloof Air Force Base a year ago.

The cabinet "reconfiguration"‚ as described by Zuma on Sunday, produced a crop of other winners‚ losers and survivors.

A sideways move‚ but one that could be read as negative‚ was that of Pravin Gordhan from finance to co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

Western Cape premier and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said: "I am delighted by Mr Gordhan's appointment‚ as the performance of national government in this area has been disastrous. I believe that Mr Gordhan will get things going and find ways to cut red tape."

Among those who could also be considered winners are Lynne Brown as Public Enterprises Minister; Zuma's adviser Lindiwe Zulu to head the new Small Business Development Ministry; and former Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane to head the new Water and Sanitation Ministry.

"I hope Ms Brown works a lot harder than she did in the [Western Cape] provincial legislature‚" Zille said.

Brown is a former Western Cape premier and headed the ANC caucus in the Western Cape legislature.

The mining sector will take time to digest the appointment of Ngoako Ramatlhodi in a surprise promotion from deputy correctional services minister to mineral resources minister, replacing Susan Shabangu‚ who in turn will now head the Ministry of Women‚ which will be in the Presidency.

"[Ramatlhodi] is a surprise and we will have to see how it takes us‚" Webber Wentzel partner Peter Leon said.

Those out of the cabinet completely include former energy minister Ben Martins‚ former correctional services minister S'bu Ndebele‚ former tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk‚ and former human settlements minister Connie September.

Sideways movers include Lindiwe Sisulu from public service and administration back to human settlements.

Arguably‚ the two survivors are Tina Joemat-Pettersson‚ who moves to energy‚ and Siyabonga Cwele‚ who takes over the new Posts and Telecommunications Ministry. - Paul Vecchiatto