Ramaphosa cleans house as he makes radical security cluster changes
President Cyril Ramaphosa has made radical changes to his cabinet security cluster after weeks of public pressure, moving state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo to the public administration portfolio and firing defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
In fact, where the state security agency is concerned, Ramaphosa went a step further than a ministerial change — scrapping the ministry altogether and placing its political oversight within the presidency under deputy minister Zizi Kodwa.
Ramaphosa also appointed Dr Sydney Mufamadi, who last year led a review panel that probed shenanigans at the SSA, as his new national security adviser.
“We are doing away with the ministry of state security and placing political responsibility of the state security agency under the presidency.
“This is also done to ensure that the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence services more effectively enable the president to exercise his responsibility to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation,” said Ramaphosa.
The president's hand was seemingly forced into the cabinet changes after ministers in the security cluster publicly pointed fingers at each other over the failed insurrection that led to the deaths of more than 300 people and damaged infrastructure worth billions of rand in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The president labelled the mayhem as an insurrection, while Mapisa-Nqakula publicly contradicted him. Dlodlo and police minister Bheki Cele also publicly clashed over an intelligence report related to the looting and riots.
Ramaphosa sacked minister Mapisa-Nqakula from the defence portfolio, saying she would be deployed to a new position, which has not been announced. She has been replaced by National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise.
Ramaphosa said on Thursday night that calm had been restored since the country experienced the orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage.
“While calm has been restored to the affected areas and our law-enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those responsible to justice, we have acknowledged that our security services were found wanting in several respects,” he said.
To address this, he said, he will strengthen the security services “to prevent a recurrence of such events”.
He announced that an expert panel made up of Prof Sandy Africa, as chair, Adv Mojanku Gumbi and Silumko Sokupa will critically examine the country's security response and will “make recommendations on strengthening our capabilities”.
“To improve support to the president and the National Security Council in the strategic management of the country’s security, I am appointing Dr Sydney Mufamadi as national security adviser. This position has been vacant since Mr Charles Nqakula stepped down earlier this year,” Ramaphosa said.