The Cat comes out to play to foil Ramaphosa’s cabinet plans
The president met with David Mabuza on Sunday before the announcement of names was put on ice
President Cyril Ramaphosa delayed announcing his cabinet on Sunday after consulting his deputy, David Mabuza, and other senior ANC leaders.
Ramaphosa and Mabuza met at his official residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, on Sunday. It is not known what they discussed since only the two of them were in the room.
This came after Mabuza, known as The Cat for his political survival skills, met the ANC’s integrity commission on Friday, where he sought to clear his name after he was flagged as one of 22 ANC leaders unfit to represent the party in parliament.
The presidency had earlier given an indication that Ramaphosa would announce his cabinet on Monday.
A full report by the commission is due only on Tuesday. Because Mabuza had asked not to be sworn in before he cleared his name, the president would not have been able to appoint him as his deputy. It seems Mabuza wants to wait for the final integrity commission report before agreeing to be sworn in.
It is understood that Ramaphosa’s meeting with Mabuza was part of a series of meetings he held with other party leaders on Sunday.
The president’s residence was a hive of activity as he listened to contributions by various role players.
He is expected to “intensify his consultation” on Monday.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, confirmed to Times Select that the president wanted to consult more widely on the appointment of the executive.
“I can say that the president is meeting a number of people and consulting widely on his executive,” she said.
She could not say when exactly the president would make an announcement this week.
The Constitution does not give the president a time frame in which to appoint his executive after being sworn in.
ANC insiders said the postponement of the announcement of the cabinet was directly linked to Mabuza’s decision to clear his name at the 11th hour.
Mabuza is said to have put up the defence that the accusations against him were all rumours perpetuated by his political rivals.
A source in the ANC’s national executive committee said Mabuza had heard that Ramaphosa was considering other people for the position of deputy president. The leader said waiting for the commission’s report was Mabuza’s strategy to make sure Ramaphosa appointed him.
“Now that he has created this crisis, the president has no choice but to appoint him, and will have to explain to structures why he was not chosen despite being cleared by the integrity commission,” the source said.
A second source said Ramaphosa could not appoint the cabinet until the integrity committee finalised its report.
Another dilemma Ramaphosa faces is the fact that his ally Pravin Gordhan was found by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to have violated the Constitution.
Ramaphosa also has to ensure that he lives up to public expectations by drastically reducing the size of the cabinet. It is expected he will reduce the number of ministers from 35 to 25.