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This month in history

President F.W. de Klerk rings in cabinet changes

Saturday, 20 February 1993

In what was widely regarded as a move to prepare the ground for the country's first multiracial elections, President F.W. de Klerk reshuffled the Cabinet. This was to come into effect on 1 April 1993. He reduced it in size and for the first time appointed non-white members of Parliament (MPs) to cabinet positions. Five members retired to pave the way for new ideas and young blood into the system. The five included, among others, Gene Louw, Minister of Defence and Public Works; Kobie Coetsee, Minister of Justice; and General Magnus Malan, Minister of Correctional Services and Housing and Works. Malan was the a former Minister of Defence, but was demoted in 1991 as a  result of the Inkathagate scandal.

Jac Rabie and Abe Williams, both members of the House of Representatives (Coloured) were appointed ministers of Sport and Population Development respectively, while Bhandara Ranchod, a member of the House of Delegates (Indian), was appointed Minister of Tourism. De Klerk indicated that he considered appointing an African minister, but had decided that such an appointment would have proven counterproductive in view of the forthcoming elections. The African National Congress (ANC) reacted by saying that the co-option of discredited and discarded figures from the existing parliament was not non-racialism and the world should not be deceived by it. Source: www.sahistory.org