Major SA Cabinet Reshuffle: New Finance, Health and Defence Ministers
FILE PHOTO: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation address in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 11, 2021. Esa Alexander/Pool via REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed the chair of Development Bank of South Africa Enoch Godongwana as finance minister, replacing Tito Mboweni who has asked to be excused from his position.

The deputy health minister Joe Phaahla will head the health ministry, Ramaphosa said during a major cabinet reshuffle, that included doing away with the ministry of state security to “place political responsibility for the State Security Agency in the Presidency.”

Phaahla replaces Zweli Mkhize who has also resigned after being on special leave for almost two months on allegations that his department irregularly awarded COVID-19-related contracts to a communications company controlled by his former associates.

The request from Mboweni, who took up the position following the sudden departure of former minister Nhlanhla Nene in October 2018, had been a long-standing one, Ramaphosa said.

Mkhize had also requested the president to allow him to step down “in order to bring certainty and stability to this important portfolio,” Ramaphosa added.

Thandi Modise, former speaker of the National Assembly, will be the new minister of defence and military veterans, replacing Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula whose standing with Ramaphosa took a knock recently when she contradicted him saying recent unrest and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal was not an insurrection.

Ramaphosa said Mapisa-Nqakula will be deployed to a new position.

Other cabinet reshuffle announcements include: Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, Small Business Development Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Several new deputy ministers were also announced.

(Reporting by Nqobile DludlaEditing by Promit Mukherjee and Sandra Maler)