Cabinet reshuffle in South Africa

Cabinet reshuffle in South Africa

On the 31st of March 2017, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma dismissed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and 9 other cabinet ministers in one of the biggest cabinet reshuffles of the 21st century.

How will the opposition parties react to the move?

On the 31st of March 2017, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma dismissed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and 9 other cabinet ministers in one of the biggest cabinet reshuffles of the 21st century.

The move comes after Zuma recalled Gordhan from an exhibition in the U.K earlier this week. This has caused the South African Rand to depreciate rapidly over the past few days.

 The nation has been full of rumors over the future of the African National Congress and their next leader. 

What has Jacob Zuma done?

  • Jacob Zuma in an unprecedented move has removed 20 ministers and deputy ministers. The ministers have either been removed from parliamentary proceedings altogether or their portfolios have been switched to another cabinet. He has appointed over 15 new ministers some with no experience in their given departments.
  • Their have been all out changes in the Communications, Tourism, Finance, Police and Public Service and Administration.
  • This is the largest reshuffling in the history of any democratic nation since the Berlin wall coming down in 1989. 

What is the reason behind the mass reshuffle?

  • Jacob Zuma’s official reign as head of the African National Congress will end in 2019 when re-elections will take place. But amidst allegations of mass corruption, the move seems to be insuring his safety after he steps down. 
  • There are movements for his impeachment which have been exacerbated in the past few days by his reshuffling from the opposition parties.
  • The opposition headed by the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters have called for the arrest, impeachment and banishing of Zuma in light of his scandals with the Gupta family and the misuse of government funds. He is likely to step down at the end of 2018 but by reshuffling the cabinet, he is attempting to guarantee a pro-Zuma successor.
  • His successor will lead the investigations against him. By reshuffling the cabinet, Zuma has guaranteed pro-Zuma ministers at least till the end of 2018. So the successor will guarantee Zuma’s safety from trial if his plan succeeds. He also removed all anti-corruption campaigners such as Gordhan.
  • For example; The New Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba has been an ardent supporter of Zuma and to some degree advocates against the investigations into corruption in the state. 


The immediate repercussions to the ‘mass midnight reshuffle’  will be on the economy. During Gordhan’s reign as Finance Minister in both Zuma’s government, he oversaw the rise in the Rand’s value by 20%. Since his recalling from and exhibition and his subsequent firing, the value of the Rand has dropped by almost 5% against the dollar. This has led to an outcry amongst investors and residents claiming that the countries economy was doing well before the reshuffling. This shows Zuma is willing to sacrifice the countries fruition in favor of guaranteeing his future. He has made unnecessary changes to ministries such as Trade and Tourism which were not brought on by any logical indicator but purely for self perseverance. If this continues and bogus economic reforms are introduced Zuma who now has complete control of the Finances, South Africa might devolve into a ‘Junk State’, unfit for investors and maybe even unfit for its people.