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Zuma names Cabinet members

SOUTH Africa President Jacob Zuma moved the respected finance minister to a new and powerful central planning post, and made other Cabinet appointments yesterday that he says will improve the way the country is governed.

The announcements had been closely watched for hints on Zuma's economic policy and signs he would swing left because of the support he has received from the South African Communist Party and the labor movement.

"I think the markets are going to react very positively" to Trevor Manuel's shift from finance to a new Cabinet level planning department, Zuma said. But he added wryly: "Who can predict the markets?"

"Comrade Trevor Manuel is being given a new structure, a very powerful structure, that is going to work out a national plan of government," Zuma said. He said Manuel would deal with financial questions issues, but not solely the economy.

Manuel served as finance minister for more than a decade, and his free-market policies had been credited with growth.

Zuma made Manuel head of a new National Planning Commission, a Cabinet level post that will be part of the president's office. Manuel will now be responsible for strategic planning and coordinating among government departments. Zuma also created a new Cabinet post responsible for monitoring and evaluating his government's performance. Zuma had promised on the campaign trail to make the government more responsive and efficient.

Zuma moved Pravin Gordhan from the tax department to finance minister. Gordhan's tax department had been praised for steadily raising receipts.

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.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the popular former wife of the country's first black president Nelson Mandela, did not get a Cabinet post. She had been high on the African National Congress's list of parliamentary candidates.


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