Ramaphosa reshuffles Cabinet

PRETORIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced several changes to his Cabinet. Here are short biographies of some of the new and not-so-new faces in the national executive.

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has made a dramatic return to his former position as head of National Treasury in President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet.

Nene was first appointed finance minister at the beginning of President Jacob Zuma's second term in May 2014, replacing a largely successful five years served by predecessor Pravin Gordhan.

Nene was infamously removed by Zuma in December 2015, just 19 months into the job, on the basis of a promise he would head up a new African regional centre of the Brics Development Bank.

His axing at the time - to make way for then little-known MP Des van Rooyen - caused a massive tumble in the rand, and came to be known as "Nenegate".

Following the furore, Van Rooyen was replaced three days later by none other than Gordhan, returning to his old portfolio from his new post as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Nene's move to the new Brics bank never materialised, confirming in April 2016 he had not received an approach, and took a new job in the private sector.

His return, announced on Monday, should be met favourably by the markets, having been well received during his short, 19-month stint.

Nene has a BCom Honours degree in economics from the University of the Western Cape, as well as two diplomas in marketing and economic policy. In addition, he has certificates from Unisa and the University of London, also in economics.

Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Zweli Mkhize is the former treasurer general of the ANC. He was one of the candidates for the party's presidency at its conference in Johannesburg in December last year, campaigning for unity and end to factionalism. At the eleventh hour, he withdrew his nomination and declined being nominated for deputy president.

Before being elected to the ANC's top six in Mangaung in 2012, Mkhize served as the premier of KwaZulu-Natal from 2009 until 2013. He was elected as the ANC’'s provincial chairperson in 2008.

According to his profile on the ANC's website, he was previously appointed as MEC for Finance and Economic Development from 2004 to 2009. He was also the leader of government business during this time.

Mkhize was born in Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg on February 2, 1956. He graduated with a medical degree from the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) in 1982. In 1983, Mkhize did his internship at McCords Hospital in Durban before being employed at Edendale Hospital in his hometown, Pietermaritzburg. In 1986 he went into exile, continuing with his medical work, and returned to South Africa in 1991.

Last year, he was named in Redi Tlhabi’s book as having tried to manipulate Fezekile 'Khwezi' Kuzwayo into dropping rape charges against former president Jacob Zuma. He denied this.

Earlier this month, former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana alleged at Parliament's enquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises that Mkhize solicited 10% of a payment of R465m due to Swifambo Rail Leasing, which provided Prasa with controversial Afro 4 000 locomotives, as a payment to the ANC. Mkhize denied any wrongdoing.

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