(CNN)Women will now make up half of South Africa's new cabinet for the first time in the country's history.
President Cyril Ramaphosa who announced the move on Wednesday said the decision was to create a line of leaders that would advance the country's future.
"For the first time in the history of our country, half of all the ministers are women," Ramaphosa said in a televised press conference.
Patricia de Lille, former Mayor of Cape Town and leader of the Good political party has been appointed the minister of public works. The women are due to be sworn in Thursday when newly appointed ministers take their oath of office.
Ramaphosa said he was downsizing the number of cabinet ministers from 36 to 28 is an effort to "downscale" the "bloated government."
While many South Africans have applauded the announcement, critics say Ramaphosa has only recycled the same crop of leaders.
Xolani Dube, a political analyst from the Xubera Institute of Research and Development based in Durban said while it is commendable for governments to strive for gender balance, political appointments should based on merit and performance.
"Many of the women the president announced have been there for many decades. We need to ask ourselves what kind of paradigm shift are we looking for in this country," Dube told CNN.