[imagesource: Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24]
Back in the Jacob Zuma days, the phrase ‘cabinet reshuffle’ was enough to strike fear into the hearts of South Africans.
Those were usually carried out in the dead of night, although President Ramaphosa himself has also tried his hand at reorganising the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Sorry, I mean reshuffling various ANC cadres from one department to another.
This past weekend, several ANC and government sources claimed another cabinet reshuffle was on the cards, and I’m sure plenty of South Africans would be happy to see the backs of the likes of Police Minister Bheki Cele and Co-operative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
IOL spoke with various political experts, who stated that Ramaphosa had better proceed with caution, or else any moves could “backfire” on him:
That would be the case especially if he “overplays his hand” and removes heavyweights like Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Police Minister Bheki Cele without justification and support from Luthuli House…
Several ANC insiders this week said a looming reshuffle of the national executive was targeting Ramaphosa’s critics and party national executive committee (NEC) members who fell out with the president over the enforcement of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
They said that Cele, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, and Dlamini-Zuma fell out with the president after leading the charge against the uplifting of the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, both at the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) and in Cabinet.
If Dlamini-Zuma was ousted, along with Cele, I would expect to see many an ale sunk in celebration, along with some rancid, overpriced illegal cigarettes smoked back to back.
Whilst these sorts of rumours are sometimes unfounded, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke believes there could be some truth to the recent whispers:
“Let me tell you, the word out there is that President Cyril Ramaphosa has not put his stamp not just on the Cabinet, but the ANC as a party since he took over. Maybe this is his way of trying to do something, but my sense is that if he doesn’t do it well, and doesn’t get enough backing, it could backfire on him.”
Dr Metji Makgoba, a political expert from the University of Limpopo, agreed that Ramaphosa was best advised to exercise caution, saying it was essentially “window-dressing” that would bring no new skills to the relevant portfolios.
Other ministers that may be sweating ahead of a potential reshuffle include Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille could also feel the pinch, due in large part to the mess that is the R37 million border fence with Zimbabwe.
It would also be grand if Ace Magashule was finally made to pay for his misdeeds, although he seems to be immune from any punishment.
Herd immunity may not be an appropriate COVID-19 response, but if everyone in a political party breaks the law, it seems to work just fine.
You can read IOL’s full report on who may be shuffled where here.
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