South Africa’s Ramaphosa announces cabinet that includes ex-opposition leader

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa named former opposition leader John Steenhuisen as the Minister of Agriculture on Sunday, marking a significant inclusion of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other parties in his coalition cabinet. This move comes after the African National Congress (ANC) formed alliances with rival parties to retain power following its loss of majority in the May 29 election, ending decades of sole rule.

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Ramaphosa’s announcement of the government of national unity cabinet followed intense negotiations, reflecting a diverse selection of ministers. Enoch Godongwana remains as Finance Minister, while Ronald Lamola replaces Naledi Pandor as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. Notably, energy responsibilities were separated from mineral resources, a change aimed at diversifying South Africa’s power generation sources away from coal.

“This cabinet represents the diversity of our nation,” Ramaphosa affirmed, highlighting a spirit of collaboration among coalition partners. The new government faces challenges including economic recovery, infrastructure repair, and job creation amidst high unemployment.

John Steenhuisen expressed optimism, stating, “We look forward to ushering in a new era of change for South Africa.” Minor parties also secured cabinet positions, marking a departure from traditional ANC dominance and signaling potential shifts in policy direction.

Despite ideological differences, including debates over Black empowerment programs and land expropriation without compensation, analysts see potential for policy innovation under the coalition. South Africa’s minimum wage and economic competitiveness remain key areas of contention and reform under the new administration.

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