S. Africa opposition criticizes Zuma's cabinet lineup

South Africa's main opposition party has criticized re-elected President Jacob Zuma's selection of some ministers in his new cabinet.

South Africa's main opposition party has criticized re-elected President Jacob Zuma's selection of some ministers in his new cabinet.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's main opposition party has criticized re-elected President Jacob Zuma's selection of some ministers in his new cabinet.

"President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of his new cabinet does not inspire confidence that South Africa's major challenges such as weak economic growth, unemployment and corruption will be tackled effectively in the President’s second term," Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille said in a statement.

Zuma, the leader of the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), unveiled his cabinet lineup on Sunday, one day after he was inaugurated for a second five-year term in office.

"I have appointed 20 men and 15 women ministers as well as 20 men and 16 women deputy ministers," Zuma said on Sunday.

The newly-inaugurated president chose Nhlanhla Nene as the country's first black finance minister.

The DA said it was not a good idea for Zuma to expand his already large cabinet.

"What the government needs is a leaner, more effective administration, not an ever growing executive," Zille said. "It is clear that these new positions have little to do with efficiency, and everything to do with solving the ANC's internal political problems at public expense."

Some of the new ministries created include the Ministry of Water and Sanitation led by Nomvula Mokonyane, a Zuma loyalist who previously served as Gauteng premier. Others are Ministry for Small Business Development, and Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services.  

The opposition leader expressed concern that the transfer of Pravin Gordhan from the Treasury to Cooperative Government might have negative consequences on investment flows into the country.

Gordan served as finance minister from May 2009 to May 2014 and was credited for doing a good job. He was replaced on Sunday by his former deputy Nene, South Africa's first black finance minister.

"We hope that over the coming years, Minister Nhlanhla Nene will prove that he can get rising government debt levels under control and that he can instill a sense of fiscal discipline that has been lacking in recent years’’ Zille said  

Much of South Africa's economy is still being controlled by whites, whom many view as benefactors of the former apartheid regime.

Some analysts believe that the appointment of a black person as finance minister might give confidence to the majority black population, while some argue it might create fear among investors.

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