South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa re-appointed Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister on Monday, two years after Nene’s sacking from the same role began the ruling party revolt that eventually ousted former leader Jacob Zuma.
Monday’s cabinet reshuffle also saw Ramaphosa add new faces and remove some ministers allied to Zuma, who was ordered by his own African National Congress party to step down two weeks ago.
Among the new faces was the former wife of Jacob Zuma, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She was appointed to run Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the presidency, replacing Jeff Radebe, who now has the portfolio of energy ministry. Dlamini-Zuma narrowly lost the ANC presidency to Ramaphosa in the December election.
Pravin Gordhan, who was fired by Zuma last March, was also reappointed to the cabinet. He was handed the key public enterprises department, which oversees around 300 state-owned firms, including loss-making South African Airways and cash-strapped power utility Eskom.
In his first stint as Finance minister, Nene sought to keep a tight rein on spending before being fired by Zuma in December 2015 and replaced with unknown parliamentary backbencher Des van Rooyen.
Four days later, Zuma was forced to sack van Rooyen and reappoint a previous finance minister, technocrat Pravin Gordhan, after the rand collapsed in value.
Zuma’s nine years as president was marked by multiple corruption allegations, economic mismanagement and disputed appointments. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.
As Zuma’s successor, Ramaphosa, 65, hailed a “new dawn” after his inauguration and has promised to fight the corruption corroding Africa’s most industrialized economy.