Reports say that President Cyril Ramaphosa is thinking about putting Bheki Cele in charge of the State Security Agency (SSA). If he does, South Africa could get a new police minister.
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President Ramaphosa is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet this week.
According to reliable sources, News24 has learnt that President Cyril Ramaphosa is seriously considering reintroducing the minister of intelligence position, barely 18 months after it was abolished, and entrusting the leadership to Bheki Cele. This move comes after he assumed responsibility for overseeing the State Security Agency (SSA).
With the country’s high crime rates and severe criticism of the police force’s inability to tackle organised and violent crime, Ramaphosa has a chance to appoint a new police minister.
Aaron Motsoaledi, the current Minister of Home Affairs, might take over Cele’s position as a result of this development.
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As reported by News24, according to two sources with direct knowledge, Cele is the favourite to become intelligence minister “as he would be best suited to head the ministry”.
The State Security Agency (SSA) is answerable to the Presidency, with director-general Thembi Majola at the helm and Minister Zizi Kodwa as Deputy Intelligence.
According to the source, President Ramaphosa is sure that the State Security Agency (SSA) has been revived under Majola’s leadership. However, Ramaphosa and his associates think that a higher-ranking Cabinet member with experience in law enforcement, like Cele, should be in charge of the agency.
The call for Cele to take over the intelligence ministry comes at the same time as an increase in violent crimes, a huge backlog in DNA testing that slows down criminal investigations, and a sharp rise in organised crimes like cash-in-transit heists, infrastructure sabotage at Eskom and other companies, and the so-called “construction mafia”.
The police force’s budget is getting smaller, and the ministry is accused of spending money on lodging, entertainment, and food while Cele was in charge. Cele has also been accused of having a reputation for getting into fights with high-ranking police officials, which he has denied in public.
During a reshuffle of the Cabinet in August 2021, President Ramaphosa said that the office of the President would take over political responsibility for the SSA.
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According to the Constitution’s Section 209(2), Ramaphosa designated the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, to assume political responsibility for the control and direction of the SSA, with Deputy Zizi Kodwa tasked with running the agency. However, party insiders believe Ramaphosa’s ally, Maropene Ramokgopa, will take over the portfolio soon, leading to the end of Gungubele’s tenure.
The Zondo Commission determined that the SSA played a crucial role in the state’s capture by corrupt individuals, using its power to destabilize opposition parties and benefit the ANC’s Zuma faction.
Ramaphosa is sure that the department is ready to stand on its own again now that high-level positions have been filled. If Cele is chosen to be the Minister of Intelligence, Motsoaledi, who is the Minister of Home Affairs and used to be the Minister of Health, is likely to become the new Minister of Police. Despite criticism, Motsoaledi is known for his hardline stance on illegal immigrants.
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According to reports, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has been criticised and praised for his tough stance on illegal immigrants, particularly his attempt to criminalise Zimbabweans in the country with exemption permits. This move has been challenged in court by several NGOs. The issue of illegal immigrants is expected to be a contentious topic leading up to next year’s general elections.
News24 reports that during President Ramaphosa’s recent consultations with senior officials and the party’s national working committee on Monday, it was agreed that newly elected Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula would resign from his position as transport minister due to his full-time deployment to Luthuli House.
Mbalula recently announced his readiness to resign from his position, pending guidance from the top leaders of his party. He emphasised that his resignation was necessary for the official termination of his membership. However, the president has the authority to appoint a new head of the transport department with or without Mbalula’s resignation.
Enoch Godongwana, the Finance Minister, was recently sworn in as an MP, which opens the door for the appointment of a non-MP to the Cabinet by President Ramaphosa. Kgosientso Ramokgopa, the former Tshwane mayor and head of infrastructure projects in the Presidency, is speculated to be the first minister of electricity in the country.
Other anticipated appointees include Paul Mashatile, the ANC’s deputy president, who may become Ramaphosa’s deputy, as well as Parks Tau, the former Johannesburg mayor, and Sihle Zikalala, the former KwaZulu-Natal premier, who are expected to serve as ministers.
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Picture: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa / Facebook