Edging closer to Cabinet, Paul Mashatile and three other ANC members sworn in as MPs

Although maintaining a modest attitude, the writing is on the wall for Mashatile to become the country’s second in command after being sworn in as a Member of Parliament on Monday.

ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile was sworn in as a member of parliament (MP) on Monday, paving the way for him to be eligible for a seat in Cabinet.

He was sworn in with fellow ANC members Maropene Ramokgopa, Sihle Zikalala, and Parks Tau.

Tshilidzi Munyai, Mervyn Dirks, Masefako Dikgale and Matshidiso Mfikoe resigned last week, allowing the addition of the four new members.

Mashatile attended the swearing-in accompanied by his three children Palesa Nonkwelo, Ayanda Sadek and Tinyiko Mvelase — to witness their father as he gets closer to becoming the country’s second citizen. 

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula facilitated the swearing-in and first addressed the media saying that it was not usual to allow media in when members are taking oath — but due to the high interest in the members that were being sworn in, she allowed photographers and camera operators to capture the moment. 

Mashatile is expected to replace David Mabuza as deputy president of the country, while there is no clear indication of which departments Ramakgopa, Zikalala and Tau will be deployed to.

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“We want to come and serve our people,” said Mashatile. “I was here before, spent 25 years in government and then left. So, it’s good to be back.” When asked about the imminent cabinet reshuffle and whether he would be the deputy president of the country, Mashatile said: “That is a prerogative of the President to appoint, for now, I am a member of parliament.” 

Mashatile was elected as the ANC’s deputy president during the party’s December elective conference. It has been a culture in the ANC that the deputy president of the party becomes deputy president of the country when the party is governing. 

Mabuza has already indicated that he wants to step down from the deputy president position to allow Mashatile to take over. 

ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina also downplayed the possible appointment of Mashatile as the country’s deputy president. “There is nothing written that the deputy president of the ANC becomes deputy president of the country. It’s just that you (the media) are used to what has been happening.” 

President Cyril Ramaphosa is said to be buying some time before he announces his cabinet reshuffle. There were talks that it could happen before his State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening but Majodina said the President is busy preparing for his address at the moment and will deal with cabinet issues later.

In a letter, Business Unity SA (Busa) urged Ramaphosa to use the reshuffle to improve the performance of a government that’s been slow to deliver on promises of economic reform. Busa named six ministries it feels need “special attention”.  DM

Author: editor

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