Ramaphosa appoints Mashatile to chair cabinet security cluster

14 March 2023 - 13:36
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Paul Mashatile was appointed South Africa's deputy president on March 6.
Paul Mashatile was appointed South Africa's deputy president on March 6.
Image: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

President Cyril Ramaphosa has assigned his deputy Paul Mashatile the role of overseeing the justice, crime-prevention and security cluster.

This means Mashatile will now be in charge of overseeing the performance of the police, defence, justice and state security ministers.

Ramaphosa sent a letter to Mashatile last week specifying the tasks he was assigning him. The document has since been tabled in parliament. 

Ramaphosa has essentially given Mashatile much more power than his predecessor David Mabuza, one of whose main responsibilities was leading the task team on Eskom. 

Mashatile is now in charge of the country’s security apparatus, including all its intelligence services.

This is over and above the usual duties such as leader of government business in parliament, the South African National Aids Council and land reform, as well as special envoy to South Sudan. 

The cluster consists of ministers Bheki Cele (police), Thandi Modise (defence), Aaron Motsoaledi (home affairs), Ronald Lamola (justice and correctional services) and Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (state security in the presidency).

The deputy president was responsible for keeping parliament updated on the Eskom energy crisis but Ramaphosa has seemingly opted to keep this role in his office, having already appointed a minister of electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, in the presidency.

“We now have NECOM (National Energy Crisis Committee) and the minister of electricity dedicated to issues at Eskom and the resolution of the electricity crisis,” said Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya when asked about Ramaphosa's thinking.

Under the police there is crime intelligence while state security also has spooks locally and internationally. Mashatile will be in charge of both as chair of the cabinet committee on security.

The ANC last week said it was not happy with the performance of its security cluster ministers as crime was spiralling under their watch.

But its secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the cabinet reshuffle was not a missed opportunity as there was no need to remove any of them.

“Most of the people [ministers] are still there. Even those who are lacking, we’re going to meet with them and show them you are lacking in this and that,” said Mbalula.

“We are not happy about the security cluster. We will sit with those comrades and talk to them together with the president about what we need.

“We are not happy about that, but we’ve got good comrades who are energised. We just need them to twist and turn and move faster.”

Mbalula maintained the ministers were “capable comrades” who needed to be strategic “because we can’t behave as if there is no rule of law in the country to the point where everybody can do as they wish”.

PODCAST | Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle was to please ANC, not the country

Meanwhile cabinet members who were axed from Ramaphosa’s executive in his reshuffle last week have been deployed to several committees in parliament.

Former sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa has been redeployed to the portfolio committees on social development and trade, industry and competition while former minister in the presidency responsible for women, youth and people with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will serve in the standing committee on appropriations.

Thembi Siweya, who was removed as deputy minister in the presidency, has been redeployed to the portfolio committee on public enterprises and standing committee on public accounts.

Former deputy minister of public enterprises, Phumulo Masualle, a strong critic of Ramaphosa’s leadership before the ANC conference last year, has been redeployed to the standing committee on finance.


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