The Presidency has announced that President Jacob Zuma has made several changes to Cabinet, effectively removing Blade Nzimande from his administration.
Nzimande has been a critic of Zuma with the SACP, of which he is the general-secretary, withdrawing its support for the ANC leader. Together with Cosatu, the SACP publicly called for Zuma to resign in March after he sacked Mcebisi Jonas and Pravin Gordhan while they were in London on an investors road tour.
“The recall from an overseas trip of comrades Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas while on a promotional tour in South Africa’s interests, and now the firing of these comrades and other well-performing ministers is more than regrettable.
“It is frankly outrageous, particularly while the worst performers in Cabinet continue to enjoy presidential protection and even, in some cases, promotion.
“This recklessness has provoked widespread concern and anger within the ANC itself, and across all sectors of our society. We have reached a decisive moment in which, in the considered view of the SACP leadership, Zuma must now resign,” the SACP said at the time.
In July, Nzimande gave an interview with a weekly newspaper in which he said he was wrong about Zuma. Nzimande was influential in securing Zuma’s seat of power in 2007, having lobbied with the ANCYL, Cosatu and Women’s League to have him become the leader of the ruling party and the country’s president.
“Had we known certain things we know now, we would have acted differently. That’s what I’m prepared to say. I don’t want to talk as if I’m speaking in parables, but had we known that our revolution and our struggle were going to be handed over to an immigrant Indian family going by the name of Gupta, we would have behaved differently.
“We would not have thought that Zuma was the right person to lead the ANC and to lead the alliance or the country, for that matter,” he said.
Nzimande is now an ordinary MP of parliament.
Zuma announced the following changes:
Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize replaces Nzimande as minister of higher education. Ayanda Dlodlo moves from communications to home affairs, while Mmamaloko Kubayi becomes the minister of communication.
Buti Manamela has replaced the vacancy left by Mduduzi Manana to become deputy minister of higher education, with David Mahlobo now heading the department of energy and Adv Bongani Thomas Bongo now the minister of state security.