Mabuza gets in by a whisker. What about Gordhan?
There have been mounting calls for Ramaphosa not to appoint Pravin Gordhan as a minister
President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday meet, one by one, the appointees to his executive, ending days of speculation about who will make the cut.
Sources around the presidency confirmed Ramaphosa was planning to call those who had made it into his reduced cabinet on Wednesday to give them the news of which portfolio they will serve in.
He will thereafter announce his executive as well as details of reconfigured and reduced ministries.
Ramaphosa gave some indication on Tuesday that his deputy would be David Mabuza.
“Siphelele manje,” Ramaphosa said to Mabuza in an embrace, which translates into: “We are now complete.”
“We are done. Thank you,” Mabuza responded.
The pair were hugging after Mabuza was finally sworn in as a member of parliament at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng conducted the swearing-in and ended by saying: “Congratulations, honourable member.”
Mabuza also hugged National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise. Also present at the ceremony was ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina.
His swearing-in as an MP came six days after he was initially meant to take his oath.
But Mabuza wanted to clear his name first at the ANC’s integrity committee, before which he appeared on Friday.
The integrity commission, chaired by George Mashamba, spent the day deliberating about their response to those implicated by their report, to finalise their response to the ANC.
But regardless of what the integrity commission found, Times Select understands the ANC’s top six decided the report would be inconsequential.
The ANC top six were locked in talks on Monday, finalising who would be best suited for which position.
It was a balancing act for Ramaphosa because he had to make room for his allies and political detractors.
He also had to balance a commitment he made to greater gender parity in his cabinet.
While Ramaphosa was carefully mulling the matter, there were mounting calls for him not to appoint Pravin Gordhan as a minister.
This came after Gordhan was implicated in wrongdoing by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in a report she issued on Friday.
But Gordhan has asked the high court to overturn Mkhwebane’s report, which recommended disciplinary action be taken against him for “violating the Constitution” by using public funds to “irregularly” approve former Sars deputy head Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.
“The report is also riddled with reviewable errors. It misstates the applicable legal framework for the approval of Mr Pillay’s early retirement with full benefits. It rests its findings and remedial action on flawed logic and a misunderstanding of the facts. It also is the product of a procedurally unfair and flawed process,” Gordhan argued.
But despite Gordhan’s move to review Mkhwebane’s report, there have been mounting calls within the ANC and among the opposition for Ramaphosa not to appoint him.
ANC member Phapano Phasha took the fight further, writing to the ANC’s integrity commission to ask them to instruct Gordhan to step aside from any public office.
“It is also common cause that Adv Mkhwebane was hailed when she made adverse findings against the likes of Comrade Gigaba, Fikile Mbalula and many others but attacked and turned into a leaper (sic) even before she could proceed with her investigation on comrade Pravin,” Phasha wrote.
“In contrast, when allegations by some opposition parties where made about President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Bosasa debacle, the president led by example by showing maximum respect and high discipline to the office of the public protector, allowing it to execute its duties with no fear or favour, and to this day we are yet to hear of any interference.
“Is Comrade Pravin Gordhan beyond reproach and more powerful than the ANC President?”
It’s been widely speculated that Gordhan is set to return as public enterprises minister.
Cosatu and the SACP, on the other hand, had called on Ramaphosa to ignore Mkhwebane’s findings against Gordhan.
After the executive is announced, ministers and deputy ministers will be sworn into office and then expected to assume their responsibilities.
Insiders close to Ramaphosa said he was the first ANC president to have consulted as widely as he did on who to appoint to the executive.
Not only ANC leaders were consulted – Ramapahosa also sought counsel from business leaders on the reconfiguration of departments.