PRETORIA, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma moved South Africa’s respected finance minister to a new and powerful central planning post, and made other Cabinet appointments Sunday that underlined a drive to make government more responsive and effe
PRETORIA, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma moved South Africa’s respected finance minister to a new and powerful central planning post, and made other Cabinet appointments Sunday that underlined a drive to make government more responsive and effective. The changes indicated no major changes in policy and gave no signs Zuma might swing left, though key posts were given to a trade unionist and a leader of the South African Communist Party after the two groups gave Zuma’s governing African National Congress major support during last month’s elections. Zuma — who was installed Saturday as South Africa’s fourth democratically elected president — expanded the Cabinet from 28 to 34 ministers, and created a new post responsible for monitoring government performance. He moved Trevor Manuel from the Finance Ministry, which he had lead for more than a decade marked by free-market policies lauded by investors, to head of a new National Planning Commission, responsible for planning and coordinating among government departments. Zuma said that, in the new Cabinet post, Manuel would lead "a new structure, a very powerful structure," dealing with financial questions issues, but not solely the economy. Pravin Gordhan took over the finance portfolio, after leading a tax department praised for steadily raising receipts. "I think the markets are going to react very positively" to the shifting of Manuel to his new position, Zuma told reporters. Ebrahim Patel, general secretary of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union, was named minister of economic development, which will be responsible for macro-economic policy. Other ministers, including the technocrat Gordhan, will be responsible for implementation, setting the stage for potential battles. Blade Nzimande, head of the South African Communist Party, was named minister of higher education and training. It is not a post likely to give him much sway over economic policy, but it could signal an important change in emphasis. Zuma has said education and training would be a priority, to help Blacks left behind by apartheid catch up. Barbara Hogan traded the Health Ministry portfolio for that of public enterprises, and a provincial education minister from eastern South Africa, Aaron Motsoaledi, replaced her as health minister. Hogan had replaced the unpopular Manto Tshabalala-Msimang after former President Thabo Mbeki lost a power struggle within the African National Congress last year and was forced by the party to step down early as the nation’s leader. While Tshabalala-Msimang was derided for promoting lemons, garlic and beets as AIDS treatments, Hogan had been praised by AIDS activists. But Hogan had angered some in the governing party when she publicly criticized interim President Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision this year to bar the Dalai Lama from attending a conference on peace and reconciliation in South Africa. Zuma named Motlanthe his deputy president on Sunday. "We wanted a structure that would enable us to achieve visible and tangible socio-economic development within the next five years," Zuma said. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the popular former wife of the country’s first Black president Nelson Mandela, did not get a Cabinet post, though she had been high on the African National Congress’s list of parliamentary candidates as chosen by party members. Zuma named Freedom Front Plus party leader Pieter Mulder as his deputy agriculture minister. Freedom Front Plus represents South Africa’s Afrikaners, the descendants of Dutch settlers who are often most closely linked with apartheid. Zuma has reached out to the small white minority during campaigning to allay fears they would be dispossessed of their farms in Zimbabwe-style land grabs. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.