Thursday, 05 August 2021

Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa announced sweeping changes to his Cabinet on Thursday evening, as well as to the configuration of some government departments and Ministries – key among those, the doing away of the Ministry of State Security, with the political responsibility for the latter, now being placed firmly in the Presidency.

The reason for this new move, the President explained, was to ensure that the country’s domestic and foreign intelligence services more effectively enabled him, as the head of state, to exercise his responsibility to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation.

The President announced several changes to the National Executive, at a time when government is facing several challenges, including working to accelerate its vaccination programme to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time, working to ensure peace and stability in the wake of the recent outbreak of violence and destruction in parts of the country.

Heading up the new portfolio will be Zizi Kodwa as Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for state security. Kodwa was the former deputy minister of the department of state security. He is a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) and a former spokesperson for the party.

Recent weeks saw a spate of violence and unrest, mostly in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The President on Thursday evening described this as an “orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage”.

He said that while calm has been restored to the affected areas and law enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those responsible to justice, government has acknowledged that its security services were found “wanting” in several respects.

Expert panel appointed

To strengthen the country’s security services and to prevent a recurrence of such events, the President announced the appointment of an expert panel to lead a thorough and critical review of government’s preparedness and the shortcomings in its response.

The members of the panel are:

  • Prof Sandy Africa, as chair,
  • Advocate Mojanku Gumbi
  • Silumko Sokupa

The panel will examine all aspects of government’s security response and make recommendations on strengthening its capabilities.

In addition, the President announced the appointment of Dr Sydney Mufamadi as National Security Adviser, to improve support to the President and the National Security Council in the strategic management of the country’s security. This position has been vacant since Charles Nqakula stepped down earlier this year.