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Speculation rife as Ramaphosa set to purge cabinet

South Africa

South Africa’s newly appointed president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to conduct his first cabinet reshuffle soon, according to local media reports.

The new president delivered his first State of the Nation Address on Friday, where he made it clear that he would be looking to restructure government.

He added that a growing and prosperous country was dependent on a strong and functioning state – and even alluded to resizing government departments.

Ramaphosa also hinted at scaling down the bloated cabinet, which grew to 76 ministers and deputy ministers under former president Jacob Zuma.

The 65-year old, hailed a “new dawn” in South Africa and promised to fight to “turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.”

Ramaphosa was sworn in as head of state last Thursday after Zuma reluctantly resigned on orders of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Speculation is rife and media reports suggest that the first ministers to be axed are those linked to the Guptas or those who have underperformed. Now market focus is on whether Ramaphosa would reshuffle the cabinet before budget day on February 21 and replace finance minister Malusi Gigaba.

Some analysts say Ramaphosa will have to balance the need to reassure foreign investors and local businesses with the intense popular demand for dramatic measures to address South Africa’s economic challenges.

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