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New Cabinet: A group of veterans and newbies

His Majesty King Mswati III has appointed MP Thulisile Dladla as Deputy Prime Minister as well as 18 other Cabinet Ministers for the period 2023-2028, as per the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini. The appointments have been announced by Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini at Cabinet Offices today.

By Sifiso Sibandze

After all the rumour-mongering about who will become Cabinet Minister, His Majesty King Mswati III has made his choice. Through Prime Minister Russel Dlamini, His Majesty announced the Cabinet ministers which comprise five (26 per cent) women and 14 (74 per cent) men. Strikingly, the Deputy Prime Minister, Thulisile Dladla is a woman and is the second female to be appointed to this position. The first woman DPM was Constance Simelane.

Simelane served as Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister from 2003-2008. Worth noting is that the newly appointed Cabinet comprise both experienced and inexperienced politicians. Of these Cabinet ministers, 11 (57 per cent) would be assuming their ministerial positions for the second time and are Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Public Works and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, Minister of Education Owen Nxumalo, Minister of Economic Planning and Development Dr Tambo Gina, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pholile Shakantu, Minister of Home Affairs Princes Lindiwe, Minister of Labour and Social Security Phila Buthelezi, Minister of Public Service Mabulala Maseko, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Prince Simelane and the DPM, Thulisile Dladla.

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Those who will be assuming Cabinet positions for the first time in their lifetime are Minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Bongani Nzima, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Apollo Maphalala, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Prince Lonkhokhela, Minister of ICT Savannah Maziya, Minister of Health Mduduzi Matsebula and Minister of Agriculture Mandla Chauke.

MINISTRY                                                                                        MINISTER
Deputy Prime Minister                                                                   Thulisile Dladla
Ministry of Finance                                                                         Neal Rijkenberg
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs                           Prince Simelane
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation                          Pholile Shakantu
Home Affairs                                                                                   Princess Lindiwe
Minister of Public Works and Transport                                     Chief Ndlaluhlaza
Minister of Economic Planning and Urban Development        Dr Tambo Gina
Tinkhundla Administration and Development                           Sikhumbuzo Dlamini
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade                                Manqoba Khumalo
Ministry of Health                                                                           Mduduzi Matsebula
Ministry of Agriculture                                                                   Mandla Chauke
Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs                        Jane Mkhonta
Ministry of Education and Training                                             Owen Nxumalo
Ministry of ICT                                                                                Savannah Maziya
Natural Resources and Energy                                                     Prince Lonkhokhela
Minister of Public Service                                                             Mabulala Maseko
Minister of Housing and Urban Development                           Apollo Maphalala
Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs                           Muzi Nzima
Minister of Labour and Social Security                                      Phila Buthelezi

By Ncaba Ntshakala

In a remarkable stride towards female empowerment, Thulisile Dladla has been appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, making her the second woman to hold this prestigious position in our nation’s history, following in the footsteps of Constance Simelane. The announcements were made by Prime Minister Russell Dlamini in the cabinet offices yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister Thulisile Dladla bring sworn in by Attorney General Sifiso Khumalo.

Thuli Dladla made headlines in 2018 when she became the first female Minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation for the 2018-2023 cabinet. She made history together with the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu who was also the first female to hold that position in the 2018 – 2023 cabinet. Shakantu was also appointed yesterday and she succeeded Minister Dladla as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Dladla is the second woman to be the Deputy Premier of the Kingdom after Constance Simelane who rose to become the first female Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini. Appointed to the Senate in 2001, Simelane became Minister of Education in 2003. In October 2006 Simelane was appointed Deputy Prime Minister by His Majesty King Mswati III, succeeding Albert Heshane Shabangu who had died a month earlier.

Dladla, a seasoned politician with a notable track record, has served in several important governmental positions. Previously, she served as the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), showcasing her strong understanding of financial management and accountability when she made headlines by bringing a lot of those who mismanaged funds before the committee.

In the 2018 -2023 cabinet, Dladla assumed the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, further highlighting her vast experience and diplomatic prowess. In this position, she successfully navigated complex international relationships and worked towards strengthening cooperation and collaboration with other countries.

In February 2019 she visited Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss further Eswatini’s relations with the Taiwanese people. Under her leadership, Eswatini was elected to serve as Vice President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. As a Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Thuli Dladla said that the recognition of the excellent role played by the country under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mswati III.

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His Majesty King Mswati III has recently highlighted the importance of empowering more women into significant roles of leadership. Apart from Dladla, The King appointed Senator Pholile Shakantu as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, HRH Princess Lindiwe as Minister of Home Affairs, Senator Savannah Maziya as Minister of Information Technology and Communications and Mbabane West Jane Mkhonta as Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

Eswatini Network of Women Public Relations and Communications Officer Mfanawenkhosi Ntshakala said that the appointment of more women signifies a significant step forward in breaking the gender barriers that have long restrained women from attaining high-ranking positions in politics.

“It is an encouraging sign that qualified women are being recognized based on their merits and given equal opportunities to shape the political landscape. This milestone further underlines the importance of fostering an inclusive society that values diversity and fosters equal representation.” He mentioned.

The Kingdom of Eswatini has been in line with the gender dynamics happening across the globe. His Majesty King Mswati III has been a stalwart in championing the full recognition of women in all sectors including political spaces. In Buhleni during the Buganu Festival, His Majesty pleaded with the nation to also elect more women into parliament as the country was heading towards elections. Eswatini has a gender policy that outlines that the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ rights are provided for in the country’s Constitution and further through the enactment and amendment of various laws.

Home Affairs Minister Princess Lindiwe, Foreign Affairs Minister Pholile Shakantu, ICT Minister Savannah Maziya, Deputy Prime Minister Thuli Dladla and Tourism Minister Jane Mkhonta.

By Siphesihle Dlamini

The new Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Mmiso Dlamini has seen an impressive representation of women taking the reins of power. The announcement, made at the Cabinet offices on Monday evening, has caused elation in the nation, as five remarkable women have claimed seats at the decision-making table.

This is still a significant leap forward, with women now occupying 26 per cent of the Cabinet despite that they dropped by 5 per cent from 31 per cent in the previous term – 2018 – 2023. Women in the previous Cabinet were former Minister of ICT Princes Sikhanyiso, Princes Lindiwe, Minister Pholile Shakantu, DPM Thuli Dladla, former Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi, and former Minister of Education Lady Howard-Mabuza

In the current Cabinet, leading the charge is Thulisile Dladla, who has made history as only the second female Deputy Prime Minister in Eswatini’s history. Jane Mkhonta has been entrusted with the crucial portfolio of Tourism and Environmental Affairs. HRH Princess Lindiwe has retained her position as the Minister of Home Affairs.

Pholile Shakantu will be in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Lastly, Savannah Maziya, who is a member of C200, an organization that advances women corporate leaders and entrepreneurs has been entrusted with the field of Information, Communication and Technology.

This proportion of women’s representation in the Cabinet marks a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards gender equality and inclusivity. It also sends a powerful message to the world that women’s voices matter, and their contributions are invaluable.

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By Silindzelwe Nxumalo

Seven ministers who served in the previous term have retained their same ministerial positions.
These are Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, Minister of Public Works, and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, Minister of Labour and social security Phila Buthelezi, Minister of Economic planning Dr Tambo Gina, Minister of Public Service Mabulala Maseko, and Minister of Home Affairs Princess Lindiwe.

These cabinet ministers were in the previous cabinet, and they were in the very same ministries that they have returned to. They have been seen working dedicatedly in their ministries and their return gives hope that they would be continuing with where they left off in the previous term.

Khumalo, who when appointed by His Majesty to be part of the 11th parliament was working as General Manager at Coca-Cola Limited, worked in the Ministry of Commerce for the past five years and growth was seen in that ministry.

Rijkernberg’s work has been very evident in the ministry and to the government as a whole as the country’s GDP was seen improving and stabilizing even during Covid-19. Dr Tambo Gina has also worked in the Ministry of Economic Planning for the past five years and the ministry has seen several investments coming into the country during his term.

Princess Lindiwe, the minister of Home Affairs has also returned to her position and has made great strides in the ministry. Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, also worked dedicatedly in the ministry and was there when the country won the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award in September 2023.

By Sibusiso Masilela

Newly reappointed Minister of Public Services Mabulala Maseko has promised to continue where he had left off in the ministry during his previous term.

The Maphalaleni member of parliament said this after he was reinstated into the same ministry by Prime Minister Russell Dlamini on Monday night. “Bayethe wena Waphakathi, it is such an honour to be entrusted with such a responsibility where I have worked before.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to continue with several programs which I had left hanging in the previous term,” he said.

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