New ministers sworn in amid controversy

JOHANNESBURG - A new brood of ministers and deputy ministers was sworn in at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria on Wednesday, as controversy continued to swirl around President Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle.

Constitutional Court Judge Johan Froneman presided over the ceremony at the presidential residence, which was recently renamed for founding ANC member Sefako Makgatho.

Incoming Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli, Human Settlements Minister Connie September, and Communications Minister Yunus Carrim were first to take the oath.

They were followed by Deputy Justice and Constitutional Development Minister John Jeffery, Deputy Science and Technology Minister Michael Masutha, and Deputy Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Pam Tshwete.

The occasion took place as Zuma was still facing questions about his fourth change of guard in his tenure. 

The president was especially criticised for not explaining his decision. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the presidency said the president did not have to give reasons for the changes to his Cabinet.

"The presidency has noted complaints from some media houses and commentators that President Jacob Zuma did not provide reasons when announcing changes to the national executive [on Tuesday]," spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

"The presidency wishes to remind the opinion-makers that the president of the republic uses his prerogative when appointing members to the national executive."

Zuma axed three ministers -- Communications Minister Dina Pule, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi.

Transport Minister Ben Martins became the new energy minister, swapping portfolios with Dipuo Peters.

Zuma also appointed four new deputy ministers.

- Sapa

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