New Defence and Military Veterans Minister?

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Indications are South Africa will have a new Minister of Defence and Military Veterans following the 8 May national elections.

The current incumbent, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is candidate number 34 on the ruling ANC’s 2019 election list. This puts her one place out of a Ministerial position as there are currently 33 ministers in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet.

Mapisa-Nqakula has been Defence Minister since June 2012. Prior to that she was Minister of Correctional Services for three years and also served a five-year stint as Home Affairs Minister.

Her position on the national election list can be ascribed, in part, to her informing the Commander-in-Chief she “felt tired and wanted to rest”. This exchange, defenceWeb heard from a reliable source, took place between the Defence Minister and the President when he called on the Department of Defence (DoD) and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) headquarters on 20 January this year. The visit was in line with a Ramaphosa statement during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2018 that he would be visiting all national government departments. This would give him the opportunity to “engage with the senior leadership to ensure the work of government is effectively aligned”. Ramaphosa’s visit to the DoD was the second since he replaced Jacob Zuma as president. The first was to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Current Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Kebby Maphatsoe looks certain to miss out on a Cabinet position post as he does not rate among the ANC’s top 100 candidates.

Former Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu who was moved to Human Settlements when Mapisa-Nqakula took office in June 2012 and subsequently to International Relations and Co-operation, is number six on the ruling party’s election list.