- President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has been placed on special leave and replaced by Mammoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
- Kubayi-Ngubane is the current Minister of Tourism and the announcement made by Ramaphosa about her appointment has divided Mzansi
- Briefly News looks at five things that you need to know about the Soweto-born minister who replaces the embattled former KwaZulu-Natal health MEC
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that embattled Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has been placed on special leave. In the wake of that pronouncement, Ramaphosa said Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will replace Mkhize.
Briefly News now takes a look at Kubayi-Ngubane in the view of bringing you a little background as we take a look at five things you didn’t know about her.
1. Personal background
Kubayi-Ngubane was born in Soweto in 1978 and was the Minister of Tourism prior to her appointment as the acting Health Minister.
Born and raised in a shack, her mother was a domestic worker and an African National Congress supporter. She attended Vista University's Soweto campus and graduated with a BA Degree in Psychology and Sociology in 2000.
She also achieved a Project Management Diploma from Damelin back in 2002. In 2015, she achieved a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand. Kubayi-Ngubane married Joel Sihle Ngubane and they tied the knot on 16 September, 2017. However, the pair announced their divorce a month ago.
2. Political background
Despite challenges, Kubayi-Ngubane matriculated from Thusa-Setjhaba Secondary School in 1997 and became involved in student politics.
In 2006, she was elected an ANC PR Councillor of the City of Johannesburg and later became the Chairperson of the municipality's Portfolio Committee on Transport. Kubayi-Ngubane also served as a Provincial Executive Council (PEC) member of the ANC Youth League in Gauteng and soon became the Deputy Provincial Secretary of the ANCYL.
Before holding the position as Minister of Tourism, Kubayi-Ngubane served as the Minister of Energy in 2017, the Minister of Communications from 2017 to 2018 and then Minister of Science and Technology between 2018 to 2019.
3. Kubayi-Ngubane faces criticism after promoting tourism in townships
Kubayi-Ngubane participated in the cook-off before the department of tourism’s budget vote last month; she defended herself and told a local radio station that Somizi did not charge any fee for the event. She said at the time:
“I understand he normally charges a lot of money, but he didn’t.”
4. Criticism from tourism stakeholders
Many will remember the funds that were set aside to bring relief to those businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when Kubayi-Ngubane came under fire for being racist.
Her department was heavily criticised for requiring that businesses severely impacted by the Covid-19 should be 51% black-owned to qualify for relief funding from the Tourism Equity Fund.
In April, the High Court in Pretoria interdicted the department from processing applications for the R1.2bn fund after lobby groups Solidarity and AfriForum applied for it to be prevented.
Said AfriForum’s campaign manager Jacques Broodryk:
“The racist tourism fund proves the seriousness of the government’s racial ideology in fiction and the only immune systems capable of fighting the government’s immoral racial discrimination seems to be fearless civil rights dogs such as AfriForum and Solidarity.”
5. Kubayi-Ngubane’s ability to replace Mkhize
Despite not having a medical background, a number of political parties have been cautious about the new health minister. According to The Citizen, there are questions over why Ramaphosa chose Kubayi-Ngubane as acting health minister over her more qualified, experienced colleagues.
Ramaphosa’s move to put Mkhize on special leave – replacing him with Kubayi-Ngubane in an acting capacity - has been cautiously welcomed, despite the latter lacking a medical background.
Many argue that Kubayi-Ngubane’s previous positions in government have been strategic and that she is not experienced enough to lead a ministry and replace an experienced leader such as Mkhize.
Some of the sentiments are expressed considering the fact that Mzansi and the world are currently fighting the scourge of the raging pandemic.
Ramaphosa decides on Mkhize
In other topics, Briefly News reported that Ramaphosa has recently announced that Kubayi-Ngubane will be stepping in as the temporary Minister of Health while current health minister Mkhize goes on "special leave".
Mkhize's suspension comes after he took full responsibility for the outrage that was caused after it was heard that a multi-million rand tender was awarded to a company called Digital Vibes that belongs to former associates of Mkhize.
Kubayi-Ngubane, South Africa's Tourism Minister, will now be taking over the reins in the Health Department while Mkhize takes some time to attend to the allegations of his involvement in the tender irregularity, City Press reports.
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