As South Africans wake up to dramatic changes to President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet, the president faces a fight back from within his own party and the tripartite alliance.
Zuma announced a Cabinet reshuffle after midnight last night, axing five ministers, two deputies and announcing 10 new ministers and 10 new deputy ministers.
The president says he has brought younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise.
Despite opposition from his party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), president Zuma replaced Pravin Gordhan and deputy, Mcebisi Jonas with former Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba and former Prasa Board Chief Sfiso Buthelezi.
ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe has confirmed he is not happy with the decision.
“We were given a list that was complete and my own view as the Secretary-General, I felt like this list has been developed somewhere else and it’s given to us to legitimise it”, he said.
He added, “My own view is that I’m very uncomfortable because areas where ministers do not perform have not been touched. Ministers have been moved and the majority of them were good performing ministers. I’m very much uncomfortable with it.”
Meanwhile, Former Cosatu leader Zwelinzima Vavi has called for a peaceful march to National Treasury in Pretoria on Friday morning.
However, the proposed walk-out by members of the party and the executive has not picked-up any momentum as yet. It remains to be seen if ANC top-dogs like Cyril Ramaphosa will make good on their promises to abandon their posts in protest for the sacking of former ministers Gordhan and Jonas.
Zuma also axed Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who led a motion of no-confidence in the ANC NEC against him last year.
But surprisingly, the president did not fire all those who were vocal against him like Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor.
Despite widespread speculation that the president would target SACP members, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, Thulas Nxesi - who has become the new Sports Minister - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel are all still in Cabinet.
The president did not touch his loyal supporters such as Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Local Government Minister Des Van Rooyen, new Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and now Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi, despite the party’s alliance partners arguing that those ministers be fired for poor performances.
Externally action from opposition parties include calls for impeachment by both the EFF and a proposed motion of no-confidence by the DA.