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Mandela Revamps Cabinet in South Africa

May 14, 1996|From Times Wire Services

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — President Nelson Mandela, acting fast to stem rivalry within his ruling African National Congress, named new ministers Monday to a slimmed-down Cabinet abandoned last week by Frederik W. de Klerk's white-led National Party.

The appointment of four new ministers and the merger of two existing ministries extend the influence of Mandela's majority ANC into all of the most sensitive areas of economic and social management.

Responding to Thursday's announcement by Deputy President De Klerk that the National Party will quit the 2-year-old government of national unity on June 30, Mandela also dropped the ministry of general affairs and the second deputy president post that had been held by De Klerk.

The move bolsters the role of the remaining deputy president, Thabo Mbeki, already well-positioned as Mandela's most likely successor as head of the ANC.

Mandela merged the Agriculture Ministry, which is crucial to the white Afrikaner minority, with Afrikaner Derek Hanekom's Land Affairs Ministry.

He gave the key mining portfolio to the little-known ANC deputy minister of home affairs, Penuell Maduna.

Pallo Jordan, who was fired in March from the Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting Ministry, returns as minister of environmental affairs and tourism.

Mandela promoted deputy ministers Valli Moosa of provincial affairs and Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi of welfare and population development to full ministerial responsibility.

The remaining coalition partner, the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, continues to hold three ministerial posts.

Mandela's transitional coalition is entrenched in a five-year interim constitution guiding South Africa from white rule to full democracy by 1999. The constitution includes a formula for the division of power among parties that won at least 10% of the vote in the 1994 election.

A final constitution adopted Wednesday dropped the coalition requirement after the next election, scheduled for 1999.

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