Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma is a divisive figure even within his own party. Between his personal troubles (the provenance of upgrades to his palatial home in Nkandla, the sources of his family's growing wealth, his battle to stay out of court on corruption charges, concerns...

President
Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

After a two-decade wait, Cyril Ramaphosa will find the deputy president's position frustrating for two reasons. First, the Constitution does not give the deputy real power. He is at the mercy of his boss, the president. Second, the past three presidents did not get...

Deputy President
Jeff Radebe

Jeff Radebe

Jeff Radebe's redeployment from the justice department came as a surprise to some observers, given his poor performance. But there are some within the ANC and government who believe he is more than capable. Some in the presidency say he is clearly out of his depth and...

Minister of the Presidency
Aaron Motsoaledi

Aaron Motsoaledi

Though Aaron Motsoaledi's overall vision for healthcare has often been praised, criticism of what some in the health field perceive as his inability to implement that vision has mounted this year.Some describe him as becoming increasingly fatigued and frustrated from...

Minister of Health
Angie Motshekga

Angie Motshekga

This is the year Angie Motshekga finally admitted that the real reason pupils do not have all the resources they need is: "perfection" is not a standard her department ever aspired to in the first place. Apparently, government policy "does not stipulate that each and...

Minister of Basic Education
Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini started as deputy minister in the department in 2008 and took the reins as minister in 2010. Her department secured a clean audit for 2013-2014 and she won praise from the auditor general for spending 99% of her R118-billion budget allocation. Not...

Minister of Social Development
Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande's merely intermittent attention to his portfolio is clearest in his disdain for Parliament's portfolio committee on higher education and training. Before the election, members of the committee used to complain that Nzimande barely attended their...

Minister of Higher Education and Training
Collins Chabane

Collins Chabane

Collins Chabane's job of overseeing the establishment of norms and standards for the functioning of the public service, as well as conditions of service and labour relations, is, to say the least, a handful. There is the fact that politics always finds a way of...

Minister of Public Service and Administration
David Mahlobo

David Mahlobo

In May, David Mahlobo was whisked from obscurity as head of Mpumalanga's department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs to assume the powerful position of minister of state security. Mahlobo's youth and ignorance of spycraft – he studied biochemistry...

Minister of State Security
Derek Hanekom

Derek Hanekom

It has been a difficult start for Derek Hanekom, the former minister of science and technology, with several international challenges – ranging from currency volatility to global macroeconomic stresses – putting the tourism sector under pressure. Although South Africa...

Minister of Tourism
Dipuo Peters

Dipuo Peters

This portfolio has more entities – maritime, aviation, rail and roads – under its control than any other and, as such, stakes a claim to having one of the largest budgets in Cabinet. For Dipuo Peters, who is considered a capable minister, this vast portfolio appears...

Minister of Transport
Ebrahim Patel

Ebrahim Patel

As the head of economic development for almost five years, Ebrahim Patel has one marked flaw: nobody knows what he does. The problem, perhaps, is that the mandate of economic development is like no other. Its primary function is to play a co-ordinating role in...

Minister of Economic Development
Edna Molewa

Edna Molewa

The creation of a separate water and sanitation department was good news for Edna Molewa. She lost the most troublesome part of her portfolio and was given sole control over the relatively effective environment department. But other departments do not co-operate fully...

Minister of Environmental Affairs
Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi is probably the worst minister and the first, if not the only, to be tacitly demoted barely months after assuming office.The Mail & Guardian revealed that the scandal-prone Zuma administration wanted a ministry of propaganda, euphemistically named...

Minister of Communications
Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula

Beginning the year with branding Bafana Bafana a "bunch of losers" was in rather bad taste for a minister tasked with ensuring the country is always behind their national team to boost morale. This, however, was partly offset by Fikile Mbalula's charisma, which has...

Minister of Sport and Recreation
Gugile Nkwinti

Gugile Nkwinti

The rural development and land reform portfolio has been characterised by large-scale policy confusion and external political pressure. Gugile Nkwinti is seen as spending too much time flogging policy proposals so poorly structured that their chance of reaching...

Minister of Rural development and Land Reform
Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu

On the eve of leaving this portfolio in December 2008, Lindiwe Sisulu described her time there as "particularly bruising". Six years later she seems determined to pick up where she left off. Her first big test was intervening in the eviction by state roads agency...

Minister of Human Settlements
Lindiwe Zulu

Lindiwe Zulu

Lindiwe Zulu, formerly President Jacob Zuma's international relations adviser, was arguably an excellent choice for minister of the newly formed small business development portfolio.That government needed a much better focus on small business, and someone with the...

Minister of Small Business Development
Lynne Brown

Lynne Brown

How do you judge a minister who is on her way to losing much of her portfolio, through no fault of her own? Lynne Brown was a surprise and welcome appointment to replace her predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, whose inclination was to use the parastatal sector as a giant...

Minister of Public Enterprises
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

This year was a mixed bag for South Africa's chief ambassador. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane bore the brunt of having to defend one diplomatic blunder after the other, while benefiting from Pretoria's image as a respected player in global affairs. When Nkoana-Mashabane...

Minister of International Relations
Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba has his work cut out for him. He inherited the ill-conceived Immigration Act from his predecessor, the department's finances are a mess with a disclaimer for 2013-2014 and a number of particularly ambitious new targets have been set, all of which he is...

Minister of Home Affairs
Mike Masutha

Mike Masutha

For Justice and Correctional Services Minister Mike Masutha, it's a case of living with the sins of the father – and these appear to be both venial and mortal.Masutha might well be asking why he is being punished in this way, given that President Jacob Zuma has tasked...

Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant is credited with improving financial management, but her singular failure has been to fix the Compensation Fund. For the second consecutive year, the fund has received an audit disclaimer after the auditor general was unable to issue...

Minister of Labour
Naledi Pandor

Naledi Pandor

When Naledi Pandor returned to the helm of the science and technology ministry after the 2014 general election, the mostly technocratic department and its affiliated agencies breathed a sigh of relief. Pandor – who was instrumental in South Africa's successful bid to...

Minister of Science and Technology
Nathi Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa

Like the 1966 spaghetti western, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has brought to his newish portfolio the good, the bad and the ugly.The ugly: his arrival in his post was greeted with outrage by the arts community, largely because of his previous job as police...

Minister of Arts and Culture
Ngoako Ramatlhodi

Ngoako Ramatlhodi

New Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi took the helm when the mining industry was in crisis. The platinum sector was locked in a stand-off between the emergent Association of Miners and Construction Union (Amcu) and platinum producers, with little hope of...

Minister of Mineral Resources
Nhlanhla Nene

Nhlanhla Nene

When Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene took the helm from predecessor Pravin Gordhan, he was praised for his technocratic expertise and extensive experience as a solid former deputy minister. The question hanging over his head (and, to be fair, one that dogged Gordhan...

Minister of Finance
Nkosinathi Nhleko

Nkosinathi Nhleko

Nathi Nhleko has been in office for seven months and we have yet to hear of any bold, radical strategy about how to tackle crime.Because he can only set policy – police officers are under the command and control of the national commissioner, Riah Phiyega – he might...

Minister of Police
Nomvula Mokonyane

Nomvula Mokonyane

Nomvula Mokonyane has been handed a lemon. Although incredible strides have been made in bringing water infrastructure to an estimated 95% of the population, this does not mean the taps have water. Corruption has meant poor-quality workmanship and a third of the...

Minister of Water and Sanitation
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

It seems defence ministers simply cannot avoid scandal about the cost of jetting the president around the globe. Much as that must have distracted Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula this year – the outraged questions, the demands for audits – it is insignificant in the greater...

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan is one of the bravest politicians in the business. He did not flinch when he took over from the wildly popular Trevor Manuel as finance minister in 2009, with nothing but trouble on the global financial horizon. Then he failed to run for the hills when...

Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Former)
Rob Davies

Rob Davies

This minister, if reviewed on efficiency and likeability alone, would score top marks. Rob Davies is appreciated by his staff and is seen as hard-working and efficient, immediately replying to questions in Parliament and quickly delivering on legislation. There have...

Minister of Trade and Industry
Senzeni Zokwana

Senzeni Zokwana

Former trade unionist Senzeni Zokwana is regarded as an affable man who has gone out of his way to get a sense of his new terrain, meeting as many stakeholders as he can. But concerns remain about Zokwana's decision to appoint a political adviser rather than one who...

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Siyabonga Cwele

Siyabonga Cwele

Formerly part of the security cluster, the new telecommunications and postal services minister, Siyabonga Cwele, would do well to remember that not everything is classified and he could, and should, communicate better.Publicly, Cwele's time in his new portfolio has...

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services
Susan Shabangu

Susan Shabangu

The new minister of women, Susan Shabangu, had barely been in office six months when she caused her first furore. As head of a ministry with little power other than to talk to other departments and promote gender parity, Shabangu's authority is admittedly limited....

Minister of Women in the Presidency
Thulas Nxesi

Thulas Nxesi

The core job of public works is to build, buy, own, secure, fix up and often rent buildings, properties and facilities for government. It is in effect a property company, which Thulas Nxesi says is seven times the size of property giant Growthpoint. When Nxesi...

Minister of Public Works
Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Of all President Jacob Zuma's new Cabinet appointments, Tina Joemat-Pettersson's was perhaps the most jaw-dropping. South Africa faces major energy security challenges, yet Zuma handed the policymaking keys over to someone who made a royal mess of her previous...

Minister of Energy