President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed 50% women in his new Cabinet announced Wednesday night in the South African capital.
“For the first time in the history of our country, half of all ministers are women,” he said in a televised addressed.
Ramaphosa said he reduced the number of ministers to 28 from 36 by combining a number of posts in a bid to cut spending, promote greater coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency.
“All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing and the constraints this has placed on public finances,” he said. He “placed priority on revitalizing the economy while exercising the greatest care in the use of public funds.”
Ramaphosa, 66, was sworn in Saturday as the six democratically elected President of South Africa.
He pledged to revitalize the stagnating economy, create jobs and rid the country of corruption which is widespread.
In his new Cabinet, Ramaphosa included a significant number of young people and opposition party leader Patricia De Lille as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure to the surprise of many.
“In appointing a new national executive, I have taken a number of considerations into account, including experience, continuity, competence, generational mix and demographic and regional diversity,” he said.
The former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader also retained influential Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Pravin Gordan as Minister of Public Enterprises. The duo is known for fighting corruption and cutting government spending.
Ramaphosa also retained David Mabuza as deputy president and appointed Naledi Pandor as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.