Political parties react furiously to Zuma Cabinet reshuffle

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says President Zuma has officially handed over the Treasury to the Guptas.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Political parties have furiously reacted to President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) rejecting the changes outright and the South African Communist Party (SACP) warning new appointees to think twice before stealing from the public purse.

Zuma has fired Pravin Gordhan from the Ministry of Finance and replaced him with Malusi Gigaba.

Mcebisi Jonas is also out as deputy Finance Minister while Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who moved against Zuma in an African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee meeting last year, has also been sacked.

But Faith Muthambi stays in Cabinet as the new Minister of Public Service and Administration while Bathabile Dlamini and Mosebenzi Zwane are staying on in their positions, which has resulted in five ministers being axed together with two deputies with the EFF saying it rejects the changes outright.

Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Zuma has officially handed over the Treasury to the Guptas.

“The plan as you know was always to appoint an unqualified individual as they did with Des van Rooyen. Who will then, in the wave in which they go, go on with their business will depend on the guidance of the Guptas.

“So Malusi Gigaba is just a famous Des van Rooyen but it’s the same strategy - he’s a stooge of the Guptas and we reject it.”

In a late-night move on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma released a statement saying that he had decided to make changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

At the same time, the SACP has warned newly deployed ministers to think twice before moving to enrich themselves in their positions.

The SACP has slammed the reshuffle.

The organisation’s Solly Mapaila, says concerns will be raised with the ANC.

“This matter will come up for discussion in our meeting today from 10 am. We’ll definitely take it up with the ANC but obviously changes have been made and we’ll have to deal with the consequences.

“The problem is the manner in which it happened, the reason in which it happened because it doesn’t give confidence to these other comrades that have come in.”

South African Federation of Trade Unions convener Zwelinzima Vavi says Zuma is likely to emerge from the criticism over the reshuffle unscathed.

“He has done this over and over and he knows that he will face no consequences. He has emasculated Cosatu so that it will do nothing. He emasculated the Youth League, the Women’s League and the ANC itself can do nothing.”

Vavi says Zuma has continued to get away with major decisions that have been detrimental to the economy, like placing under-qualified people in positions of power at state-owned entities.

“This is the full destruction of the country, everything is being captured with only one intention, to deliver South Africa into a capitalist, kleptocratic order where there will be no accountability and where the political hyenas will eat almost freely without paying any consequences.”

The former Cosatu Secretary-General is planning a peaceful march at Pretoria’s Church Square from 10am to occupy the Finance Department.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)