Presidency denies Ramaphosa postponed Cabinet reshuffle due to ill health, says he’s ‘fine’
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson says the president had ‘a minor cold’ on Tuesday and has since recovered.
Picture File: President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 4 January 2022. Picture: Jacques Nelles
The Presidency has denied media reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa postponed announcing changes to his Cabinet on Thursday because of ill health.
The president’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed to The Citizen on Friday that Ramaphosa did have “a minor cold” on Tuesday, but has since recovered.
On Friday, News24 reported that Ramaphosa was meant to meet with African National Congress (ANC) officials at midday on Thursday, in Tshwane, to finalise his new executive team. However, the meeting was apparently cancelled at the eleventh hour because the president had a cold.
The report cited two unnamed insiders who are said to be close to the discussions. One of the sources claimed that ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula was the person who informed party officials that Ramaphosa was ill.
Responding to written questions from The Citizen, Magwenya poured cold water on the report saying Ramaphosa “had a minor cold on Tuesday but continued with his duties, including hosting [Uganda’s] President Yoweri Museveni”.
Ramaphosa on Tuesday hosted his Ugandan counterpart at the Union Buildings for a state visit, which included a state banquet.
‘The president is fine’
Asked whether there was a scheduled meeting on Thursday at the president’s official residence in Tshwane, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, to finalise new appointments to Cabinet – Magwenya said he wasn’t aware of any meeting that was meant to take place.
“There was never any announcement scheduled for Thursday. The president is fine,” said Magwenya.
Ramaphosa is under pressure to announce changes to his national executive following his state of the nation address (Sona) in Parliament last month, in which he announced measures that government would take to tackle the country’s energy crisis and the imminent appointment of an electricity minister.
Since then, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana delivered his budget speech, new ANC members of parliament were sworn in, and David Mabuza officially resigned this week as the country’s deputy president.
According to political pundits, this signalled that Ramaphosa’s long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle could happen in a matter of days.
On Wednesday, Magwenya told the media Ramaphosa would announce the changes to his Cabinet “in a number of days”.
He said the president was well aware that the country was waiting on him to fill vacancies in his Cabinet.
“There are vacancies in Cabinet and we also now have a vacancy in the role of the deputy president, so there is a sense of urgency that the president fills those vacancies as soon as possible. In a matter of days that announcement will be made,” said Magwenya.