David Mabuza

David Mabuza

David Mabuza is a memento of the South African accident that wasn’t; he is also a reminder of the red sky that gave birth to the “new dawn”. To President Cyril Ramaphosa, he symbolises the transience of loyalty and support. Under Mabuza’s premiership, the ANC grew...

Deputy President
Aaron Motsoaledi

Aaron Motsoaledi

Life, death, politics and protest — healthcare in 2018 arguably had its most volatile year in more than a decade. Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who survived the era of the midnight (re)shuffle, is on track to become democratic South Africa’s longest-serving health...

Minister of Health
Angie Motshekga

Angie Motshekga

Angie Motshekga has served two terms as the minister of basic education and she believes the sector is ready to embrace someone with fresh ideas. Motshekga has had a love-hate relationship with the public as a leader of one of the most important departments in the...

Minister of Basic Education
Ayanda Dlodlo

Ayanda Dlodlo

The department of public service and administration is charged with helping other government departments to function better by formulating and implementing systems that will ensure better service delivery. Much of this work depends on buy-in from other ­departments, a...

Minister of Public Service and Administration
Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini

The department of women was called out for having a large budget, but showing very little progress. With calls to disband the ministry, 2018 was the right time to tighten its belts and reconfigure its mandate in a bid to ensure that it would be more effective. Yet...

Minister of Women
Bheki Cele

Bheki Cele

For Police Minister Bheki Cele, South Africa is almost on the brink of a war zone. Almost. When the 2017-2018 crime statistics were released in September, Cele blamed the bleak state of policing and crime on his predecessors, Nathi Nhleko and Fikile Mbalula. Cele’s...

Minister of Police
Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

Axed as minister of higher education by then-president Jacob Zuma, Blade Nzimande was reinstated to the Cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February, this time as transport minister. His tenure in his new post has been marred by battles on the roads and in...

Minister of Transport
Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

He stood tall. Like a man who had warred with history and won. After years on the sidelines, disappointed but newly wealthy, Cyril Ramaphosa was president of South Africa at last. His smile was broad. He looked calm and well rested as he began his first act as...

President
Derek Hanekom

Derek Hanekom

Arguably one of the country’s biggest employers, the tourism industry is expected to expand further and employ 2.1-million people by 2028; the national tourism sector strategy was given the green light last year. Derek Hanekom, who has headed the department for the...

Minister of Tourism
Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba’s mission since her appointment in February by President Cyril Ramaphosa has been to arrest the rot in the State Security Agency (SSA). Cleaning up the department has been part of the Thuma Mina project led by Ramaphosa himself....

Minister of State Security
Ebrahim Patel

Ebrahim Patel

When Ebrahim Patel took up the mantle of the newly formed economic development department in 2009, the former union leader was an unknown quantity. Also unknown was the reason for the department’s creation, which was speculated at the time as a gesture to Jacob Zuma’s...

Minister of Economic Development
Edna Molewa (Nomvula Mokonyane)

Edna Molewa (Nomvula Mokonyane)

The environmental department has a new minister, but she hasn’t had enough time to show what kind of minister she will be. Nomvula Mokonyane’s track record is worrying. She helped to destroy the water ministry. On the other hand, Edna Molewa, in her eight years at the...

Minister of Environmental Affairs
Gugile Nkwinti

Gugile Nkwinti

The department is in an F state, but Nkwinti deserves a C for trying hard to turn things around. Raw sewage is flowing into rivers. The army has been deployed, during peacetime, to fix this crisis. Children are dying because they fall into pit ­toilets. Up to...

Minister of Water and Sanitation
Gwede Mantashe

Gwede Mantashe

With his background as a miner and migrant labourer, there was a certain expectation that Gwede Mantashe would take up his new position with gusto. Since his appointment to the “theatre of state capture”, it has become clear Mantashe has his work cut out for him....

Minister of Mineral Resources
Jeff Radebe

Jeff Radebe

President Cyril Ramaphosa arguably took a gamble when he chose Jeff Radebe to take over the department of energy this year. Radebe, the longest-serving minister in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, was moved from his post as minister in the presidency, which is now under Nkosazana...

Minister of Energy
Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu

Let’s be honest, Lindiwe Sisulu’s predecessor, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, set the bar low. Her eight-year tenure was accompanied by a marked decline in South Africa’s continental and international standing, which was not helped by the minister’s tendency to put her foot...

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation
Lindiwe Zulu

Lindiwe Zulu

For a minister who has been harping on since 2014 about how critical small and informal businesses are to ensuring economic growth, Lindiwe Zulu and her department of small business development have not stepped up to the plate. The 2017-2018 annual report revealed...

Minister of Small Business Development
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

By its own account this department has spent in excess of R17-billion on land reform and restitution since 1994. Even after the chopping and changing of ministers throughout the years, and splashing money on this gigantic problem called land reform there remains...

Minister of Rural development and Land Reform
Michael Masutha

Michael Masutha

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha survived President Cyril Ramaphosa’s two Cabinet reshuffles. This past year he has once again kept his head down and mostly out of the news. There was not much he could do about his biggest headache — the...

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant

This year Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant saw the National Minimum Wage Bill signed into law, a feat some will no doubt applaud. But Oliphant’s pursuit of the R20-an-hour minimum wage has also garnered her widespread criticism. In April, hundreds marched against the...

Minister of Labour
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

It's early to tell. Appointed in February this year as science and technology minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane was the minister of communications for four months and before that the minister of energy for six months. It has been that kind of two years. Besides the...

Minister of Science and Technology
Naledi Pandor

Naledi Pandor

If there is one thing Naledi Pandor has shown since taking over the department in March it is decisive leadership. She has taken tough decisions about issues her predecessors, including Blade Nzimande, failed to tackle, particularly with regard to the historically...

Minister of Higher Education and Training
Nathi Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa

If there’s one person who can teach the newest recruitment to social media (Jacob Zuma) the art of tweeting your way into public favour, it’s Nathi Mthethwa. The minister’s tweet game is so good that artists routinely campaign for shoutouts from him. Whether it’s...

Minister of Arts and Culture
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

While Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has remained relatively invisible since her appointment in February, her department has continued to be seized with planning — as opposed to implementation — of policy. The department, established in 2010, is responsible for the...

Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
Nomaindia Mfeketo

Nomaindia Mfeketo

The department of human settlements has an estimated 2.1-million problems, but at least its financial statements aren’t one of them. Although it is nowhere near being able to provide houses to all those on waiting lists, the department of human settlements patted...

Minister of Human Settlements
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

In peacetime, South Africa’s defence force’s core responsibilities have morphed somewhat. There’s the role of securing our borders, including warding off pirates intent on plundering our, and our neighbours’, territorial waters for ever-dwindling marine resources....

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan

One cannot escape the catchphrase “state capture” when considering the year that was for the department of public enterprises. It is the department most severely affected by 10 years of Jacob Zuma’s presidency and his bid to aid his cronies, the Gupta family. It is...

Minister of Public Enterprises
Rob Davies

Rob Davies

There’s no doubt that this has been a tough year for Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, whose task of attracting investment and stimulating employment was made more difficult by unstable domestic and global economic conditions. Davies found himself putting out...

Minister of Trade and Industry
Senzeni Zokwana

Senzeni Zokwana

From major underspending on his budget to having the head honchos of his department implicated in shady dealings, Senzeni Zokwana has struggled to keep his house in order. A power struggle between the director general, Mike Mlengana, and deputy director general,...

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (Nomvula Mokonyane)

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (Nomvula Mokonyane)

In November, the department of telecommunications and postal services, under Minister Siyabonga Cwele, was merged with its more controversial sister, the department of communications, under Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Mokonyane was shuffled off to the environment...

Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services
Susan Shabangu

Susan Shabangu

The running of the department of social development would have been a tough feat for any new minister. It certainly hasn’t been easy for Susan Shabangu, especially after the department of women in the presidency, which was inactive at the busiest of times. Shabangu...

Minister of Social Development
Thulas Nxesi

Thulas Nxesi

This year President Cyril Ramaphosa restored Thulas Nxesi to the helm of public works, a position he held for three years until he was moved in 2017 by then-president Jacob Zuma to the department of sport and recreation. Though Nxesi’s first stint at public works was...

Minister of Public Works
Tito Mboweni

Tito Mboweni

This time last year the finance minister was one Malusi Gigaba. A year later he is not even in Parliament and Tito Mboweni has the job. And there was another minister between the two, Nhlanhla Nene. Such is the present turmoil in South African politics. Gigaba, then a...

Minister of Finance
Tokozile Xasa

Tokozile Xasa

Tokozile Xasa came into a department with a good administrative history and once again the results are favourable. Of the R1.02-billion allocated to it, 99.4% was spent. More than R700-million went to the development of sport in a bid to build an “active nation”. The...

Minister of Sport
Zweli Mkhize

Zweli Mkhize

The scandal about the 15 municipalities that deposited R1.6-billion of municipal funds into VBS Mutual Bank added to the woes of a department already fighting for its life. The deposits, made against treasury’s advice, have left the municipalities struggling to pay...

Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs