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Cablegate: A Look at Motlanthe's Cabinet Appointments

R 071539Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6384
INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
AMCONSUL DURBAN
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
DIA WASHINGTON DC
CIA WASHINGTON DC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 002477


AF/S PLEASE PASS TO A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KJUS PGOV KDEM SF
SUBJECT: A LOOK AT MOTLANTHE'S CABINET APPOINTMENTS

REF: PRETORIA 2132

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Summary
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1. (U) Motlanthe finished making his Cabinet appointments
this week by appointing three Deputy Ministers: Andre Gaum
was named Deputy Education Minister, Musa Nhlanhla Nene was
named Deputy Finance Minister, and Fatima Hajaig was named
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. In total, Motlanthe made 10
new ministerial appointments and five new deputy ministerial
appointments to the Cabinet. Below are short biographies for
each of the newly appointed ministers and deputies. End
Summary.

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Bios: The Ministers
-------------------

2. (U) Defense Minister Charles Nqakula previously served as
Minister of Safety and Security from 2002-2008. He helped
facilitate the peace process in Burundi, setting up the
political and military principles underpinning peace and
achieving a cessation of hostilities. Nqakula served as
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs from 2001 to 2002. He was
elected to the African National Congress (ANC) national
executive committee (NEC) in 1994, 1999, and 2004. Nqakula
has long-standing ties to the South African Communist Party,
serving as Deputy Secretary General from 1991 to 1993 under
Chris Hani and then as Secretary General following Hani's
assassination. He also has an extensive background in
efforts to organize labor, having been elected Vice President
of the Media Workers' Association of South Africa following
his appointment as Vice President of the Writers' Association
of South Africa in 1979. He served as public secretary of
the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983 before he left the
country and underwent military training in Angola as part of
the armed wing of the ANC, the Umkonto we Sizwe or "Spear of
the Nation." He subsequently infiltrated South Africa as one
of the commanders during Operation Vula and served as a
commander in Western Cape in 1988. (Note: Operation Vula was
the armed resistance inside South Africa beginning in the
late 1980s to create communication channels between ANC
leaders in exile and those in the country and to undermine
the apartheid regime. End Note.) He was born on September
13, 1942 and is married to Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula. He enjoys composing choral music and writing
poetry.

3. (U) Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Enver
Surty previously served as the Deputy Minister of Education
from 2004-2008. He has been described as possessing "all the
hallmarks of a good leader." He served as a member of
Parliament in the Senate until 1994 and subsequently the
National Council of Provinces from 1996 to 2004. He joined
the National Assembly in 1999 and was re-deployed to the
National Council of Provinces as Chief Whip, a position he
held from 1999 to 2004. During his time in the legislature,
he participated in select committees, including on the
Justice, Safety and Security, Constitutional Affairs, and
Local Government portfolios. He served on the ANC's NEC from
1999 to 2007 as an observer. Surty has an extensive legal
background, serving as a human rights lawyer in Rustenberg
from 1977 to 1994. He also acted on behalf of the Congress
of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) during his tenure as
an advocate. Surty was born on August 15, 1953 and is
married with three children. He enjoys watching and playing
soccer, cricket, and squash. He is an avid reader.
Qsoccer, cricket, and squash. He is an avid reader.

4. (U) Health Minister Barbara Hogan previously served as a
member of Parliament, where she played a leading role in
numerous ad hoc committees and investigations. She chaired
the portfolio committee on Finance from 1999 to 2004. She
was instrumental in creating ANC structures in Gauteng and
has been a member of Parliament since 1994. Concurrent with
her appointment to the Health Ministry, Hogan acts as
chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Auditor General.
She is a member of the advisory board of the Amandla AIDS
Fund, which was established by the non-profit organization
Artists for a New South Africa in 2003. She joined the ANC
in 1976 after the Soweto student uprising. In 1982, she
became the first woman to be sentenced to treason in South
Africa and began serving a 10-year sentence. She was
released in 1990. Hogan was born in 1952 and enjoys reading.

5. (U) Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa
previously served as the Chief Whip of the ANC. One of
former President Thabo Mbeki's staunchest critics, he has
been in Parliament since 2002 and is currently a member of
the NEC and the ANC's National Working Committee. Prior to
Polokwane he was a key lobbyist for Jacob Zuma's bid to
become party leader; he was accused of being one of the
leaders responsible for organizing party members bused in to
boo former Mbeki. He was elected to the NEC of the ANC's
Youth League in 1994 and served in its National Working
Committee as Secretary for Organization from 1994 to 2004.
He was deployed to the ANC's National Organizing team in 2001
and served as chairman of the Minerals and Energy Portfolio
Committee in 2004. He has ties to the labor movement, having
served in 1989 as chairman of the Southern Natal Unemployed
Workers Union, an initiative of COSATU. Mthethwa was
recruited into underground work for the ANC as part of
Operation Vula. He has extensive ties to the ANC in
KwaZulu-Natal, which he has capitalized on as chairman of the
ANC's Political Committee in Kwa-Zulu Natal. He has in the
past denied meeting requests from the Consul General in
Durban. He is known for his tough talk and militancy. He
was born on January 23, 1967 and is married. He enjoys
writing and sports.

6. (SBU) Public Enterprises Minister Brigitte Mabandla
previously served as Minister of Justice and Constitutional
Development from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that she served as
Housing Minister from 2003 to 2004 and as Deputy Minister of
Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology from 1995 to 2003.
Industry sources report that she knows very little about the
state enterprises that she will be responsible for. Some
newspaper journalists believe that her transfer to this
ministry suggest that the large state enterprises she is
responsible for will eventually be transferred back to the
relevant ministries (i.e. Eskom to the Department of Minerals
and Energy, Telkom to the Department of Communications and
Transnet and South African Airways to the Department of
Transportation.) Mabandla's reputation also has been tainted
by her refusal to charge former Police Commissioner Jackie
Selebi for widely perceived corruption during the Mbeki
government. She is a member of the ANC's NEC and has been in
Parliament since 1994. She has an extensive background
working with NGOs and experts in human rights, minority
rights, children's rights, women's rights, and rights for the
disabled. She has a background in law, having earned her
degree at the University of Lusaka in 1979. She lectured in
law at the Botswana Institute of Administration and Commerce
from 1983 to 1986 and served as Legal Advisor of the ANC
Lusaka Legal and Constitutional Affairs Department from 1986
to 1990. She then was a member of the ANC's Constitutional
Committee and negotiating team from 1990 to 1994. She was
born on November 23, 1948 and is married.

7. (U) Public Works Minister Geoffrey Doidge has extensive
legislative experience. Not only is he Public Works
Minister, Doidge is chairman of the Committee of Chairpersons
in Parliament, a member of the National Assembly Rules
Committee, a member of the Joint Rules Committee, a member of
the National Assembly Program Committee, a member of the
Joint Program Committee, a member of Parliament's Budget
QJoint Program Committee, a member of Parliament's Budget
Forum, a member of the ANC Whips Committee since 1994, and a
member of the ANC Governance Committee in Parliament. He has
extensive experience in development work and local
governance. He was a founding member of the ANC's Strategy
Team as served as Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC from 1994 to
1999. His local government experience includes times as a
member of the ANC Transkei regional executive from 1992-1995
and as a member of the Kokstad Local Affairs committee from
1992 to 1994. He is known for protecting staff members from
abuse by fellow legislators. He was born on April 26, 1952
and is married.

8. (U) Intelligence Minister Siyabonga Cwele has been a
member of Parliament since 1994. He has served as a member
of the ANC's Provincial Executive Committee in Kwa-Zulu Natal
since 1990. Throughout his legislative career, he has served
on the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, as a member
of the Senate of the National Council of Provinces from 1994
to 1999, and as chairman of the Standing Committee on Social
Services. He served in various underground capacities for
the ANC from 1984 to 1990. He was known as one of the few
leaders in Parliament willing to speak out against some of
Mbeki's decisions. He is a strong Zuma supporter, and was
credited with ensuring Mbeki's bid for a third term was
defeated at Polokwane. Cwele, who has a good grasp of the
intelligence system, led the Joint Standing Committee on
Intelligence to recommend that former Scorpions boss Leonard
McCarthy be charged for allowing the Scorpions to gather
intelligence that culminated in the controversial Browse Mole
report. The report linked ANC President Jacob Zuma to a coup
plot against Mbeki. He denied a request in 2008 by the
Consul General in Durban to discuss political developments.

9. (U) Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo
Shiceka is a member of the ANC's NEC. He was fired from his
ANC party position in Gauteng when former premier Mbhazima
"Sam" Shilowa assumed the office in 1999. Following his
dismissal, he was appointed as the permanent Gauteng
representative to the National Council of Provinces and
served as the chairman of Parliament's collective committee
on local government and administration. He has extensive
service dealing with Public Service, Land and Environmental
Affairs, and Security and Constitutional Affairs portfolios.

10. (U) Public Service and Administration Minister Richard
Baloyi has been in Parliament since 1999. He has
concurrently served as a member of the Committee on Public
Service and Administration, a member of the National Assembly
Rules Committee, a member of the Joint Rules Committee on
Ethics and Members Interest, and member on the Ad Hoc
Committee on the African Peer Review Mechanism. During the
1980s, he was a UDF activist. He served in Limpopo as the
ANC's provincial spokesman following the 1994 election and in
a variety of capacities in local government before assuming
his legislative seat. He has been described as a
"hardworking, but lesser-known MP."

11. (U) Minister to the Presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
previously served as Health Minister from 1999 to 2008.
Prior to that assignment, she served as Deputy Minister of
Justice from 1996 to 1999. Her emphasis on treating AIDS
with vegetables such as garlic and beetroot rather than
Western anti-retroviral medicines was criticized heavily
internationally; many political analysts view her appointment
to the Presidency as a way to "move her quietly away from
health care matters." Tshabalala-Msimang began her
involvement with the ANC in the 1960s when the group sent her
to Soviet Union for education; she received medical training
there from 1962 to 1969. Beginning in the 1970s and into the
1980s, she was an official within the exiled ANC leadership
in Tanzania and Zambia, with job responsibilities focused on
health and well-being of ANC militants in those countries.
She was elected to Parliament in 1994. In recent years there
have been concerns over her health, as she was admitted to a
Johannesburg hospital in February 2007 suffering from anaemia
and pleural effusion. She underwent a liver transplant a
month later. A 1961 graduate of Fort Hare, she is married to
ANC leader Mendi Msimang.

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Bios: The Deputies
------------------

12. (U) Deputy Minister of Health Molefi Sefularo is a
medical doctor and academic from Northwest who holds degrees
from Medunsa, University of Witswatersrand, and the
University of Cape Town. Long active in local Northwest ANC
structures, he currently is on the Trade and Industry
committee in Parliament. He has served as chairman for the
ANC's Health Committee since 1993. During the 1980s, he was
QANC's Health Committee since 1993. During the 1980s, he was
a UDF activist. He was born on July 9, 1957 and is married.
Sefularo is interested in human rights, nature conservation,
distance running, and reading.

13. (U) Deputy Minister of Defense Fezile Bhengu has been in
Parliament since 1994. He is chairman of the Committee on
Defense and a member of the Joint Rules Committee. A
graduate of Fort Hare, Bhengu was a UDF activist in the 1980s
and worked for the ANC in underground capacities prior to the
group's unbanning. He is known to regularly criticize
legislators and was a fierce critic of former Deputy Defense
Minister Mluleki George.

14. (U) Deputy Education Minister Andrew Gaum has the
distinction of being the last National Party legislator to
sit in the National Assembly. He followed Marthinus van
Schalkwyk into the ANC. Gaum has been in Parliament since
1999 and served a brief stint in the Western Cape Parliament
from 2001 to 2004. While he served in the provincial
legislature, he served as an executive committee member on
the Education portfolio. As an ANC legislator, he served on
the Constitutional Review Committee and on the Safety and
Security Committee. He enjoys sports and reading.

15. (U) Deputy Finance Minister Musa Nhlanhla Nene is
Parliament's former Finance committee chairman. Business Day
political analysts describe him as "well known for his
prudent approach to fiscal and macro-economic policy." Some
see him as a potential replacement for Finance Minister
Trevor Manuel when he decides to leave the government. Nene
is said to get along well with Manuel and is a close friend
of South African Reserve Bank Governor Titi Mboweni. Nene
has served in Parliament since 1999 and represents Kwa-Zulu
Natal and is the former ANC Secretary for the Bambatha
region. Most recently, he received international attention
when his chair collapsed during a national South African
Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) television interview. The
incident was captured and has been widely viewed on
youtube.com. Nene took the incident in good grace at first,
saying he was glad to give people something to laugh about in
stressful times, but as the incident continued to receive
international press he now feels it has been "enough." He
has asked SABC to investigate who circulated the clip and
refuses to rule out legal action.

16. (U) Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fatima Hajaig has
served in Parliament since 1994. During her tenure, she
devoted most of her energy to foreign affairs and to the
Foreign Affairs committee, where she chaired the
sub-committee on international affairs. She also serves on
the Pan African Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the
Southern African Development Community committee on
inter-parliamentary cooperation, and the parliamentary group
for international relations and Parliamentarians For Global
Action. She has a law degree from Budapest and has some
background in trade and industry.

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Comment
-------

17. (U) Motlanthe's appointments fall into two categories.
On the one hand, there are ministers and deputies with strong
reputations for being technically competent and willing to
speak their minds. Surty, Hogan, Cwele, and Baloyi fall into
this category. Most of the deputies fall into this category
as well. Motlanthe has been rightfully lauded for these
picks. On the other hand, there are ministers the President
simply moved aside because they performed poorly or were
embarrassments in their previous roles. Tshabalala-Msimang
and Mabandla fall into this role. Motlanthe did not receive
praise for retaining these leaders, but was lauded for moving
them aside. The question now that everyone is asking is
whether the appointments will remain in their positions
should Zuma assume the presidency next year.


BOST

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