By Senzile Kubheka
Former Higher Education Minister and Secretary General Of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Blade Nzimande has failed to survive the second reshuffle in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.
On Tuesday Morning, Zuma reshuffled his cabinet, swapping around six of his ministers, including Nzimande who is replaced by Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize.
This shocking reshuffle, especially the axing on Nzimande is most probably set to place serious strain on the relations between the African National Congress (ANC) and members of its tripartite alliance, the SACP.
Relations between Zuma and Nzimande turned sour when the SACP turned out to the President’s biggest critics and called for him to be recalled. This led to the alliance to ban Zuma from addressing members in their events.
The SACP was then infuriated by the intelligence report that was used to axe former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his Deputy Mcebisi Jonas. The Alliance described the report as “dodgy”.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Mmusi Maimane said he was not surprised by Zuma’s second reshuffle and said it was his way of removing threats and individuals that are against corruption.
“…, the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of State Capture. The obvious target was SACP leader, Dr. Blade Nzimande, who follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office,” said Maimane.
The leader went on to criticise the new Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo, saying his appointment is based on the nuclear deal.
“…none more pliant than new Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo. This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multibillion rand nuclear deal with the Russians,” said Maimane.
“This reshuffle has nothing to do with effecting good governance, and ensuring the best people serve our country. On the contrary, Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics, and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year,” added Maimane.
“Removal of Nzimande a direct attack to the Alliance”- SACP
The SACP has slammed Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle by saying it has nothing to do with good governance but a direct attack to the party.
“We emphatically reject these manoeuvres that place 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,” said 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 deadwoods and compromised individuals in Cabinet,” added the Alliance.
The Alliance then said Zuma’s latest actions have, more than anything else, compromised and further tarnished the image of the ANC itself. They also made it clear that the removal of Nzimande from the cabinet will not silence them, but rather has encouraged the alliance to play the leading role in exposing and confronting state capture.