Godongwana to be sworn-in as MP ‘to make space for electricity minister’

President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to appoint a minister of electricity that is not an MP during his much anticipated cabinet reshuffle.

Minister of finance Enoch Godongwana to be sworn-in as MP on Tuesday.
Image: GCIS

This as Ramaphosa is said to have asked the ANC in the Eastern Cape to ensure finance minister Enoch Godongwana is sworn in as an MP.

ANC parliament chief whip Pemmy Majodina confirmed Godongwana was set to be sworn in as an MP on Tuesday.

“Yes I can confirm but awaiting for a small process to finalise with EC [Eastern Cape],” said Majodina.

She added that the swearing-in would be in person on Tuesday.

This move signals Ramaphosa is likely to announce his cabinet reshuffle soon.

Ramaphosa announced during his state of the nation address earlier this month that over and above the declaration of the state of disaster to deal with the energy crisis, he will be appointing a minister of electricity that will be based in his office at the Union Buildings.

But not much has happened since then with regard to the position which was said to be an urgent intervention.

Ramaphosa appointed Godongwana as finance minister despite not being an MP by using his presidential prerogative that allows him to appoint three non-MPs into his executive.

Ramaphosa has however reached his quota on appointing non-MPs in his cabinet with Godongwana, Cogta deputy minister Thembi Nkadimeng and minister of trade and industry Ebrahim Patel.

Two cabinet ministers told TimesLIVE Ramaphosa wants Godongwana to become an MP to allow space for a non-MP to be appointed as minister of electricity.

“He [Godongwana] was not a MP but was appointed on the president’s prerogative. He frees up space for the appointment of the minister of electricity on the president’s prerogative,” a cabinet minister said.

Another cabinet minister concurred: “It creates a space for one person who is non-MP to be appointed to cabinet.”

As much as this minister would not be an MP, the president is said to be looking into the newly elected ANC national executive committee.

There had been rumours that Kgosientso Ramokgopa, head of investment and infrastructure in the presidency, was earmarked for the position but several insiders say he was not so keen.

“Last time Sputla [Ramokgopa] was not keen given the work he is busy with on infrastructure,” a source said.

They however maintained that even if it was not Ramokgopa, the person was likely to come out of the NEC or at least be a senior member of the ANC.

Ramaphosa has signalled he is ready to reshuffle his cabinet having consulted the ANC alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, over the weekend.

He also on Monday held meetings with the ANC top seven, the party’s NEC national working committee and later on his cabinet ministers.

It was not immediately clear if the issue of a reshuffle came up in any of the Monday meetings but an ANC senior leader was able to confirm the president was ready.

“All boxes have been ticked. [A reshuffle] should happen any day or any time. If the [ANC] Free State list is done, to swap deputy secretary [Dibolelo Mahlatsi] with former premier [Sisi Ntombela] then all systems go,” the leader said.

The ANC this week signalled its impatience with Ramaphosa, saying the reshuffle should be “done and dusted” by the end of February.

If the president was to heed the ANC’s call, the reshuffle was likely to happen on Tuesday.

There are two vacant ministries — public service & administration and electricity — while Fikile Mbalula has to be replaced as transport minister after his election as ANC secretary-general.

Expected casualties include tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, women, youth and people with disabilities minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and sports minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Mashatile is expected to take over as deputy president after David Mabuza’s recent resignation.

Maropene Ramokgopa, who was sworn in as an MP this month, is, according to insiders, being considered for minister in the presidency while Sihle Zikalala is seen as a likely replacement for Dlamini-Zuma.

Parks Tau is rumoured to be earmarked for the transport minister portfolio.