A cabinet reshuffle is believed to be in the works as President Cyril Ramaphosa struggles to implement his desired reforms amid push-back from certain factions within the African National Congress (ANC).
According to a report in the Mail & Guardian, sources told the publication that Ramaphosa is considering moving Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to the public service and administration ministry, which is considered less important.
This following reports that she is planning to attempt to replace David ‘DD’ Mabuza as ANC deputy president.
According to the publication, however, choosing to replace Sisulu could isolate the president from certain ANC structures, especially due to her familial ties to struggle icons Walter and Albertina Sisulu.
The M&G further reports that if the reshuffle does take place, it will likely be under the guise of filling vacant positions, such as that of the deputy minister of mineral resources.
“When the president has decided to fill the vacant position of the deputy minister of mineral resources and energy, he will communicate his intentions and decision to the public,” was all presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko would say.
A Mail & Guardian report released last Friday exposed an anonymous complaint sent to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane alleging that Sisulu is plotting to replace Mabuza.
This is similar to claims made in a Sunday Independent article back in May that certain ANC groupings wanted either Sisulu or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace the deputy president.
The recent M&G report said the complaint to the public protector accused Sisulu of appointing loyalists to her ministry as part of building a campaign to replace Mabuza.
One of these appointments is believed to be that of Bathabile Dlamini, who was announced on Friday as the new chairperson of the interim board of the social housing regulatory authority.
Sisulu’s spokesperson, Makhosini Mgitywa, said in an interview on eNCA the complaint was “push-back” from those wishing to derail the important work she was doing in her department.
News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson incurred Sisulu’s wrath when he wrote a column following the elections in May titled “Ramaphosa’s three biggest challenges right now“, outlining the alleged hurdles Ramaphosa will face in the coming months as “the Zuma camp regroups to undermine and ultimately unseat him”.
Basson referenced the Sunday Independent article and cited an allegedly “strained” relationship between Sisulu and the president.
“There are different versions of the back story to this, but one theory in the ANC is that Magashule and co are betting on Sisulu’s blind ambition to become president to unseat Ramaphosa. It is no secret that the relationship between Ramaphosa and Sisulu has been strained. Do not be surprised if she does not make it back to Cabinet,” added Basson at the time.
Sisulu slammed the column as “fictitious so-called theories on the ANC leadership” on Twitter, adding that “his theory is gathered from fake news and rumours meant to spread discord in the ANC”.
Basson defended his right to express his opinion on political developments.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Kaunda Selisho)