African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was sworn in as an MP on Thursday.
Dlamini-Zuma, who replaces Pule Mabe, was sworn in by the deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli along with Mathews Wolmarans who replaces Brian Molefe.
“As it is common practice in Parliament, the new MPs will immediately undergo an induction programme and be provided with all necessary tools of trade to assist them with carrying out their parliamentary duties without delay,” Parliament said in a short statement.
Shortly after it was announced the ANC would deploy Dlamini-Zuma to Parliament speculation was rife her move was indicative of an upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
Dlamini-Zuma has denied any knowledge of a reshuffle.
According to Molifi Tshabalala, an independent political analyst; “one can only imagine it as a strategic move in the run-up to the elective conference. This implies that we may have a cabinet reshuffle soon.
Someone of her stature cannot go Parliament and become sort of a backbench. More so, considering that parliamentary work would take much of her time to wander around the country to drum up support,” said Tshabalala.
Dlamini-Zuma launched her presidential campaign shortly after her term as chairperson of the African Union Commission came to an end in January this year. She enjoys the support of the ANC Women’s League as well as the party’s Youth League.
“If the move is not strategically from her camp, then it may be a serious blow for her presidential campaign,” Tshabalala said.
“At this juncture, one cannot make sense of a suitable ministerial position for her, if President Jacob Zuma reconstitutes his cabinet.
One thing for sure, cabinet reshuffle is on the card, especially following Mduduzi Manana’s resignation as deputy education minister. However, the position is too junior for Dlamini-Zuma,” conclude Tshabalala.
Dlamini-Zuma is expected to go up against, among others, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.