Ramaphosa shakes up Union Buildings

President Cyril Ramaphosa is consolidating his power at Union Buildings, bringing in ANC stalwarts and some of the people who helped him win the ruling party's leadership race in December.

Although he initially seemed reluctant to shake up the seat of government after taking over from former president Jacob Zuma, keeping some of the posts occupied by Zuma appointees, Ramaphosa is now slowly bringing in his own trusted lieutenants.

Sowetan has been reliably informed that at least three of Ramaphosa's close associates, two of whom are said to have worked behind the scenes during his campaign to become ANC president, will be joining the Union Buildings in the next few weeks.

Among them are Donne Nicol, who has worked as the chief executive of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and as an executive director at Shanduka. Her history with the president dates back to the early 1990s where she worked as executive secretary at Shell House, then ANC headquarters, where Ramaphosa was secretary-general.

Also expected to join the president's office next month is Bejani Chauke, who was the official campaign manager for Ramaphosa during the run-up to the ANC's elective conference last year.

Roshene Singh, who worked for years as the ANC's election manager during president Nelson Mandela's time, looks set to join the Presidency as chief of staff.

The president has already made some key appointments but he will soon announce more new people that will ensure that his new dawn becomes a success..

Ramaphosa has already appointed Charles Nqakula as his security adviser, Nokukhanya Jele as his legal adviser and Olive Shisana as his adviser on social policy. The other appointments include that of Khulu Mbatha and Steyn Speed.

Ramaphosa's spokeswoman Khusela Diko confirmed the appointments that had already been announced but said "the rest of the appointments are being finalised and I cannot confirm them until DPSA [the Department of Public Service and Administration] has granted necessary approvals in accordance with the Public Service Act and the Public Management and Administration Act".

Mcebisi Ndletyana, of Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra), said Ramaphosa could not just make political appointments, he needed to have people with both administration and political backgrounds.

"In this case he seemed to have managed to get people with that combination. In Khulu, Steyn and Charles, he has advisers who come from the old ANC. He also needs to have younger people in the team who will expose him to new ideas to grow the ANC."

Who are these appointees?

Olive Shisana

She is an experienced social scientist and public health specialist who served in government in different capacities. She has been a leading light in shaping the research on HIV/Aids.

Her career in government started when she became the director-general in the Health Department in the first democratic government.

She participated in the liberation Struggle, led the technical team that demarcated South Africa into nine provinces and participated in transforming the civil service.

Bejani Chauke

He has been the political adviser to chairwoman of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise, in parliament. Little is known about him but he has been a close confidante of Ramaphosa and was one of his campaign managers during his push to become president of the ANC.

Charles Nqakula

He is an ANC veteran who served in government under former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. He has been the minister of police, hence he will be able to advise Ramaphosa on security issues.

Nokukhanya Jele

She has connections in the ANC and had been advising Ramaphosa when he became deputy president and moved with him when he was appointed president in February.

Khulu Mbatha

He has been an ANC member and was adviser to former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe while in government. He is the author of Why the ANC Failed to Govern, a book that speaks to the failures of the ANC government. He was also one of the 101 veterans critical of Zuma when he was still president.

Steyn Speed

He grew up in the ANC, where he honed his communications skills while under Mbeki's leadership. He left the ANC head office to go work with Ramaphosa as group executive: communications and stakeholder relations at Shanduka Group soon after Zuma became president of the ANC in 2007.

He left the company when Ramaphosa was appointed deputy president to work with him in government.

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