Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 13:13 UK

Zuma's cabinet: Press reaction

The South African print media has largely welcomed newly-inaugurated President Jacob Zuma's cabinet appointments ahead of the ministers' swearing in.

But some commentators expressed surprise at a few of his choices, while others criticised the size of the cabinet.

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Colleagues of Jacob Zuma applaud the new South Africa President
Jacob Zuma was applauded by ANC colleagues, now the media join in

Overall, Zuma's cabinet is what it had to be under the circumstances: a carefully constructed compromise between his need to keep governing alliance together, and the country's now pressing demand that the ruling party deliver on its promises. [New Finance Minister Pravin] Gordhan represents continuity and predictability, which markets like... and [his predecessor, Trevor] Manuel's retention in the cabinet will be popular for the same reason.


He [Zuma] has started the presidency on a bright note, staying away from rancour and vengeance in favour of reconciliation and harmony.


Zuma had many balls to juggle: Balancing the demands of loyal backers, the demands of alliance power-blocs and the need to ensure delivery. Some of his choices are surprising. There is little rhyme and less reason for these choices, but now that they have been made, let the real work begin.


He has begun well, showing friends, supporters and comrades that he will not be swayed from delivering on his promises and the party's pledge to the country by personal loyalties. The casualty list has grown as egos have been crushed and the reality of this determination has dawned. It has not been pretty, but it has been heartening, as the gravy train of careerism has hung like a spectre over politics and the civil service for far too long.


Zuma will need all his famed negotiation skills to hold together this huge cabinet and create what he has promised will be an "efficient, caring and effective" administration, responsive to the needs of the people.


The whole thing is a waste of taxpayers' cash. First, the presidency has about 500 people working in policy and all sorts of other positions. Now President Jacob Zuma has added a Ministry of National Planning and a Ministry of Performance Monitoring to the mix. This is likely to entail a dramatic increase in employees. In these tough times, when companies are tightening belts, the government is failing to lead by example here. Over the next 100 days we will see whether his choice of Cabinet can match his words. One can only wish them luck.

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