President Ramaphosa

In many African countries, women are underrepresented in leadership positions, if they are even represented at all.

South Africa has a gender-balanced cabinet for the first time in history. “For the first time in the history of our country, half of all ministers are women,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address on Wednesday in Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa also reduced the number of ministers to 28 from 36 by combining a number of posts in order to reduce spending, promote greater coherence and improve efficiency. “All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing and the constraints this has placed on public finances,” he said.

Ramaphosa was sworn in on Saturday as the sixth democratically-elected president of South Africa. He pledged to revive the stagnating economy, create jobs and rid the country of corruption.

In addition to the having a gender-balanced cabinet, Ramaphosa also included a significant number of young people and opposition party leader Patricia De Lille as minister of public works and Infrastructure in the cabinet. “In appointing a new national executive, I have taken a number of considerations into account, including experience, continuity, competence, generational mix and demographic and regional diversity,” he said.

Other significant people in the cabinet are Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan who were both retained in their positions. Tito and Pravin are known for fighting corruption and cutting government spending. David Mabuza was retained as deputy president and Naledi Pandor was appointed as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

South Africans, as well as the international community, are happy with Ramaphosa’s cabinet picks. There is renewed confidence in the cabinet which is now being praised and hailed as a beacon of gender inclusivity.