Cabi­net min­is­ters to re­sign en masse and ANC MPs to call for a vote of no con­fi­dence in Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma should he de­cide to get rid of Pravin Gord­han

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Govern­ment of­fi­cials in­sist that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma will not ef­fect a Cabi­net reshuf­fle this week. This de­spite strong in­di­ca­tions that con­di­tions are favourable for such af­ter the swear­ing in of for­mer Eskom chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Brian Molefe as an MP on Wednes­day. This week, City Press learnt that if a reshuf­fle were to be ef­fected, it could be fol­lowed by an en masse res­ig­na­tion from Cabi­net.

Panic over a loom­ing reshuf­fle rose again this week af­ter Molefe was hur­riedly sworn in, in­ten­si­fy­ing spec­u­la­tion that he was be­ing po­si­tioned to take over from Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han.

Spec­u­la­tion was rife yes­ter­day that the reshuf­fle could hap­pen as soon as to­day.

In­sid­ers said this week the prospects of a split in the gov­ern­ing party were be­com­ing real and the per­son who would lead the dis­af­fected group would be deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Sources close to the anti-Zuma lobby said min­is­ters would re­sign in big num­bers and in key port­fo­lios, par­tic­u­larly in the event of any dras­tic changes at Na­tional Trea­sury. Those ag­grieved would, how­ever, keep their par­lia­men­tary seats.

Fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tions, some ANC MPs would them­selves ini­ti­ate a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Zuma.

Apart from a July de­ci­sion on whether to con­test elec­tions on its own ticket, the cen­tral com­mit­tee of the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) – the high­est de­ci­sion­mak­ing body in be­tween con­gresses – was this week al­ready hav­ing in­tense dis­cus­sions about pos­si­bly forc­ing its lead­ers who hold prom­i­nent govern­ment po­si­tions to re­sign.

But a se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial said Zuma had a hec­tic sched­ule ahead of him this week and would not have time to reshuf­fle, as that would re­quire ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion.

The of­fi­cial said Zuma would travel to In­done­sia the fol­low­ing week, re­turn for a South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity meet­ing in Swazi­land and then host an Ira­nian govern­ment del­e­ga­tion.

The of­fi­cial said there had been talk that Zuma would reshuf­fle af­ter the Jan­uary event; then af­ter his state of the na­tion ad­dress; and then af­ter the bud­get speech.

“Peo­ple are anx­ious, so they just keep on look­ing at these dif­fer­ent mile­stones to spec­u­late.

“A reshuf­fle is an in­volved process. You don’t just wake up and reshuf­fle,” said the of­fi­cial.

The of­fi­cial fur­ther said talk that for­mer AU Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would be ap­pointed to Cabi­net was ill-informed be­cause she was still serv­ing her han­dover pe­riod un­til April.

The SACP said it was not con­sulted on cru­cial de­ci­sions such as these, de­spite the fact that it cam­paigns side by side with the ANC at elec­tion time.

It was ex­pected that Zuma would ap­point Molefe in a cal­cu­lated move to use him to pro­mote the Gupta fam­ily’s in­ter­ests.

On Fri­day, the SACP’s sec­ond deputy sec­re­tary Jeremy Cronin did not hold back as he pointed out that the party would have to weigh two op­tions: Stay and be com­plicit, or pack up and go.

“Noth­ing is off the ta­ble when we are look­ing at what might tran­spire. All of this is guess­work and sup­po­si­tion, but noth­ing is off the ta­ble in dis­cus­sion about how to go for­ward, with many even­tu­al­i­ties be­ing quite un­cer­tain and quite wor­ry­ing,” he said.

One of those even­tu­al­i­ties is the prospect of Gord­han be­ing re­moved.

The fi­nance min­is­ter en­dured a tor­rid week af­ter he got into an ugly spat with Mzwanele Manyi of the Pro­gres­sive Pro­fes­sion­als Fo­rum on Fri­day.

For the first time, he ex­pe­ri­enced the hos­til­ity of fel­low Cabi­net min­is­ters who re­fused to give him a stand­ing ova­tion when ev­ery­one else was do­ing so af­ter he de­liv­ered his bud­get speech on Wednes­day.

He was also at­tacked in state­ments by the ANC women’s and youth leagues.

The SACP’s se­nior lead­er­ship mem­bers who sit in the cen­tral com­mit­tee and are part of Zuma’s ex­ec­u­tive in­clude its gen­eral sec­re­tary and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande, Pub­lic Works Min­is­ter Thu­las Nx­esi and his deputy, Jeremy Cronin, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Sen­zeni Zok­wana, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Rob Davis, min­is­ter in the pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe, deputy min­is­ter of min­eral re­sources Godfrey Oliphant, and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Ebrahim Pa­tel.

Cronin said the SACP would need to con­sider all its op­tions as it fights against loot­ing and against those who try to sub­orn forces in Trea­sury – that is still hold­ing the line against cor­rup­tion.

It would not be the first time that the party with­drew a de­ployed of­fi­cial. Last year, a frus­trated Joyce Moloi-Moropa slapped ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe with a let­ter of res­ig­na­tion from her po­si­tion as chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

At this point, if the op­tion is to go, the con­cern is that it would leave a vac­uum that would en­able bla­tant loot­ing. But this will also de­pend on who gets elected as Zuma’s suc­ces­sor in De­cem­ber when the ANC goes to its elec­tive con­fer­ence.

Cronin said this week’s de­vel­op­ments raised many ques­tions, not just on whether they would stay or go, but about whether they could in fact res­cue the ANC.

“We don’t think we can res­cue the ANC on our own, but we are ex­tremely con­cerned about the state of af­fairs in the ANC, as are many other ANC mem­bers. We are cer­tainly in­ter­act­ing ac­tively with many ANC mem­bers who are deeply dis­tressed about this won­der­ful move­ment and its le­gacy of which we are all proud, but that is in dan­ger of be­ing sold down the tubes.”

Zuma yes­ter­day ad­dressed some of his clos­est al­lies, in­clud­ing for­mer SABC chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng and Manyi, at a closed-door func­tion at the Oys­ter Box Ho­tel in Umh­langa near Dur­ban.

The me­dia was not al­lowed to at­tend the func­tion, hosted by Zuko Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, for which sil­ver, gold and plat­inum pack­ages at R250 000, R500 000 and R750 000 re­spec­tively were on sale ear­lier in the week.

Mean­while, two North West ANC MP can­di­dates turned down the op­por­tu­nity to earn the lu­cra­tive R1 mil­lion an­nual salary and perks that come with be­ing a mem­ber of the Na­tional As­sem­bly in favour of Molefe.

For­mer ANC Youth League deputy sec­re­tary Kenetswe Mosenogi and speaker of the Mat­losana lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Wash­ing­ton Ntozini, had been next in line in the event of a va­cancy on North West’s na­tional elec­tion list.

The prov­ince’s list has changed at least twice since the 2014 gen­eral elec­tions, the last time be­ing on Fe­bru­ary 14 when Molefe’s name was gazetted.

Oth­ers who were re­moved from the orig­i­nal 2014 list in­clude for­mer MP Wind­voel Mahlangu and mem­ber of the party’s pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, Mor­wesi Se­gale-Diswai – who are both said to be cur­rently out of work, ac­cord­ing to an in­sider.

This week, Se­gale-Diswai de­clined to com­ment, say­ing that she was on her way to a church con­fer­ence.

North West ANC sec­re­tary Dakota Le­goete said the can­di­dates who re­signed from their po­si­tions on the elec­tion list to make room for Molefe “did so vol­un­tar­ily and with­out prej­u­dice”.

Le­goete said Molefe’s nom­i­na­tion also had the bless­ing of ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, who a month ago said it was un­likely that Molefe would be sworn in as an MP any time soon.

We don’t think we can res­cue the ANC on our own, but we are ex­tremely con­cerned about the state of af­fairs in the ANC, as are many other ANC mem­bers JEREMY CRONIN


MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY Solly Ma­paila, Jeremy Cronin and Blade Nz­i­mande of the SA Com­mu­nist Party. The party has threatened to re­con­sider its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive should Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han be re­moved dur­ing a Cabi­net reshuf­fle

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