Pretoria, 27 May-2014(Xinhua): South Africa’s new cabinet was sworn in on Monday amid criticism for being bloated. The proceedings got underway with President Jacob Zuma swearing in his Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa in the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.
Then Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng administered the oath of office by the cabinet ministers who were appointed by Zuma on Sunday.
The 35 ministers took the oath to perform their duties conscientiously and to the best of their abilities, with the secrecy and confidentiality required.
Zuma announced the cabinet ministers as the country conclude its transition to a new administration following the fifth national general elections on May 7.
To improve implementation and ensure impact, Zuma reconfigured some departments while others have been expanded to improve capacity.
One of the newly established departments is the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services, which is in charge with a fast growing telecommunications sector.
Zuma has also established a new Communications Ministry, which will be responsible for overarching communication policy and strategy, information dissemination and publicity as well as the branding of the country abroad.
Meanwhile, the National Planning Commission as well as the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Ministries in the Presidency have been combined into one Ministry to harmonize the planning and monitoring functions.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) criticized the cabinet shake-up.
DA leader Hellen Zille said the new cabinet does not inspire confidence that South Africa’s major challenges – as weak economic growth, unemployment and corruption – will be tackled effectively in Zuma’ s second term.
She criticized Zuma for expanding his already excessively large executive to include more new departments and several additional deputy ministers.
“What the government needs is a leaner, more effective administration, not an ever growing executive. It is clear that these new positions have little to do with efficiency, and everything to do with solving the ANC’s (African National Congress’) internal political problems at public expense,” Zille said.
But the ANC on Monday dismissed criticism that Zuma has appointed a bloated administration as a form of reward for his comrades.
ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said they had to create new ministries and appoint several deputies in departments that are crucial to basic service delivery.
Duarte also denied that some ministers were axed because they were either not supportive of the current ANC leadership or have embarrassed the ruling party.
Some analysts believe former Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile was axed because he was outspoken against Zuma.
Former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was also removed for allegedly being critical of Zuma.
Duarte said the president made his decision based on what is best for the country.
“I think everybody has to accept the new term as the new term this is a new administration based on a new manifesto produced by the ANC,” said Duarte.
Nobody should have expected to go back where they were before and nobody must look at their deployment as either a promotion or a demotion, it is simply the president making a shift for what is good for the country, Duarte said.