South Africa News

Fikile Mbalula: Beef between Cyril Ramaphosa and Paul Mashatile an unfounded rumour

The African National Congress (ANC) has refuted claims that there is tension between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his new deputy, Paul Mashatile.

Delays around the Cabinet reshuffle had sparked rumours Mashatile was being blocked by Ramaphosa and his close allies from becoming deputy president following David Mabuza’s resignation.

Mabuza stepped down from his position and gave up his seat as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the National Assembly last month to make way for Mashatile, who was elected as ANC deputy president at the governing party’s 55th national elective conference in December.

Ramaphosa confirmed Mashatile’s appointment in his Cabinet reshuffle this week.

‘Unfounded rumours’

Addressing the media at a fundraising event in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said Ramaphosa had fulfilled his commitment to appoint Mashatile as the country’s second-in-command.

“We urge our members to move ahead post-conference and focus on the interests of people – and not be misguided by unfounded rumours. [Paul] Mashatile is now the deputy president of the country.

“There’s never been any intention from the president and any of us to stop him becoming deputy president. We have all learned about those conspiracies in the public domain and so on,” he said.

The ANC secretary-general also sought to clarify the delays behind the reshuffle.

“Everything thus far went very well, the delay in the main was the fact that we had to get people from the provinces, amend the list, and change and negotiate for others to step back and give us space to appoint some of the comrades we have appointed. The president requested that he wants those comrades to form part of this energy-driven reshuffle.”

Swearing-in ceremony

Mashatile was sworn in as South Africa’s ninth deputy president at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was also sworn in after being appointed as the much-anticipated Energy Minister.

Zizi Kodwa, who was appointed as the new Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, and former KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) premier Sihle Zikalala were also sworn in.

Zikalala is now the Minister of Public Works, taking over from Patricia de Lille, who replaced Lindiwe Sisulu as Tourism Minister.

Ramaphosa appointed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, while Mondli Gungubele took over as Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies.

Other Cabinet members including Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga were retained in the reshuffle.

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