South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a new cabinet in which, for the first time in the country’s history, half of all ministers are women.

In another unexpected move, one of the women is from the opposition.

He appointed veteran opposition politician Patricia de Lille, who had stood for the Good Party, as minister of infrastructure development

South Africans have welcomed the move to have equal gender representation. Tanya Cohen from Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said it sent “good signals to have qualified ministers like Dr Naledi Pandor as International Relations minister”.

On Thursday President Ramaphosa made a point of hosting the “take a girl child to work” day, where he told students he wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age. Many hope that the presence of women will help in poverty alleviation especially among rural women.

The most unexpected move was the appointment of the former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. She set up the Good party after she was forced to resign from the opposition Democratic Alliance following an acrimonious power struggle.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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