According to a report in City Press, much of the speculation around the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as an MP this week centres on the fact that this was done to ensure she becomes the next president before President Jacob Zuma’s second term ends.
Zuma would therefore leave office as early as next year, provided his ex-wife succeeds him as party leader.
A second cabinet reshuffle this year also appears to now be on the cards, with Dlamini-Zuma apparently earmarked as a replacement for the SACP’s Blade Nzimande as higher education minister – however, no one is certain of this as reshuffles are entirely the prerogative of the president.
Nzimande has been an outspoken Zuma critic.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu may also be in the firing line within the ANC caucus itself, though he said he was not aware of any such threat.
He told the Sunday Times that he was considering quitting politics after the ANC’s elective conference in December, though he would continue to support Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to succeed Zuma until then.
He said it was important to first deal with the “toxicity of our political space in the ANC”, but he had numerous personal matters to attend to, particularly his family obligations.