Tue | Dec 1, 2020

South Africa’s president names Cabinet that is 50% women

Published:Thursday | May 30, 2019 | 11:15 AM
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) takes the Oath of Office at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Yeshiel Panchia/Pool Photo via AP)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s president on Wednesday named a trimmed-down Cabinet that is 50% women, making the country’s one of few in the world to be “gender-balanced.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement followed similar moves by Ethiopia and Rwanda last year.

Ramaphosa cut the Cabinet from 36 ministers to 28 as he seeks to reduce the bloating under predecessor Jacob Zuma, who stepped down last year under pressure amid corruption allegations.

Fighting the corruption and mismanagement that has consumed billions of rand is the major issue facing the ruling African National Congress, whose election win this month was the weakest in its 25 years in power amid public frustration.

The ANC leadership still contains some Zuma allies, complicating Ramaphosa’s efforts at reforms aimed at restoring investor confidence in the economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.

Creating jobs is another immense challenge in a country where unemployment is over 25%, and where a growing youth population that never knew the harsh racial system of apartheid that ended in 1994 is restless for a better future.

“The people who I am appointing today must realise that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and that they will shoulder a great responsibility,” Ramaphosa said in a national address that stressed the need for an “ethical” government.

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