Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle slated for‘ destabilising governance’
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle has been slated with members of the tripartite alliance saying the frequent reshuffles destabilise government work.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said the shifting of ministers who have been in their portfolios for less than six months creates instability in the departments.
“If you have a minister who was appointed in the last reshuffle then three of those ministers are moved around in October that is a formula for instability and therefore, it can’t be correct,” said Mantashe.
“I don’t want to pretend that I’m in the mind of the president but that is a major issue. You must appreciate that there is a contradiction here of the party role and what the constitution of the Republic gives prerogative to the president to do.”
Mantashe addressed reporters shortly after Tuesday’s reshuffle that saw SACP leader Blade Nzimande axed. Unlike the last reshuffle that saw Pravin Gordhan removed, Mantashe confirmed that Zuma told them of his intentions but his mind was already made up and there was very little the party’s leadership could do.
“The party’s top six was informed. The ANC can have a particular view on a matter but if the president invokes his prerogative as given by the country’s Constitution, as ANC, we have little space to manoeuvre,” said Mantashe.
He further described Nzimande’s axing as a pity. He said he hoped Nzimande would not resign from Parliament because of the removal from the higher education portfolio.
“He has done well in education. Under his leadership, he has built three universities. We hope he won’t resign from Parliament and will stay there,” Mantashe said.
Nzimande’s axing was not taken kindly by his party. The move was described as a direct attack on the organisation.
Spokesperson Alex Mashilo added that the move places the Alliance on the brink of disintegration.
“Our view is that this is not a reshuffle but the targeted removal of Cde Blade as a direct attack on the SACP. Ordinarily, the aim of any cabinet reshuffle must be to strengthen the capacity of the state. But in this case that is not the intention, especially with the retention of so many deadwood and compromised individuals in Cabinet,” he said.
The SACP and Nzimande have been very vocal over dissatisfaction with Zuma and Mashilo believes that is what led to Nzimande’s removal. He also revealed that Zuma had not consulted the alliance on his decision to once again tinker with his cabinet.
“The continued authoritarianism by Zuma, disregarding Alliance protocols and relations, has plunged the Alliance into unchartered waters,” he said.
Mashilo further claimed that the reshuffle was to ensure that Zuma’s preferred candidate emerges victoriously from the December elective conference. The frontrunners to replace him are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former African Union chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She is Zuma’s preferred successor.
“Our call for Zuma to step down is based on the many problems of corruption, governance decay and state capture under his watch. In addition, the removal of Dr Nzimande from the Cabinet is part of Zuma’s manoeuvres to secure successful election of his ordained successor at the forthcoming ANC December national conference,” he said.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said they were consulted over the reshuffle but questioned the frequency of the action.
“While we acknowledge that the president of the republic has the prerogative to reshuffle his National Executive as per the Constitution of the republic, we find the frequency of these cabinet reshuffles unsettling because they do not help to create the much-needed stability at a government level. What compounds the situation is that some of these government departments are also witnessing an exodus of senior technocrats,” said Pamla.
Political parties also weighed in on the move. EFF leader Julius Malema said the move was to settle political scores and tighten Zuma’s grip on power leading to the December elective conference. He was however pleased with the removal of Nzimande.
“We reject the reshuffle of the national executive because it does not include the criminal suspect, Jacob Zuma. We also welcome Blade Nzimande’s removal as Higher Education Minister,” he said.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the country should not be celebrating the reshuffle. He said the move was another way for taxpayers money to be thrown down the drain.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the reshuffle was Zuma’s way of dealing with anyone who opposes state capture.
“Minister Nzimande’s axing has also provided the pretext for yet another reshuffling of Zuma sycophants, none more pliant than the new minister of energy David Mahlobo. This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multi-billion rand nuclear deal with the Russians,” he said.
NO ROOM TO MANOEUVRE: ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.