Gwede Mantashe: Axing of Blade Nzimande 'a pity'

This morning the Presidency announced a Cabinet reshuffle that saw a number of ministers swopping portfolios, while Blade Nzimande was the only one to be axed.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has described the firing of Blade Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education and Training as "a pity", saying he's has done well in education.

This morning the Presidency announced a Cabinet reshuffle that saw a number of ministers swopping portfolios, while Nzimande was the only minister to be axed.

Mantashe says that while ANC national executive committee (NEC) was informed about the Cabinet reshuffle, it was not consulted.

He says the removal of Nzimande will impact negatively on the alliance between the ANC and the SACP.

When Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet earlier this year, some in the ANC top six, including Mantashe, publicly disagreed with his changes.

They complained that the president simply went ahead without taking advice from the party's top officials.

Mantashe has now confirmed that the president did not consult them on this latest shake-up.

“In the case of the Minister of Finance (Pravin Gordhan), we were consulted. We delayed that reshuffle for a number of months. That is the difference between consultation and informing.”

Responding to the reshuffle and the sacking of Nzimande, the SACP issued a strong statement which condemned the move.

"We emphatically reject these manoeuvres that place the Alliance on the brink of disintegration. Our view is that this is not a reshuffle but the targeted removal of Cde Blade as a direct attack on the SACP. Ordinarily the aim of any cabinet reshuffle must be to strengthen the capacity of the state. But in this case that is not the intention, especially with the retention of so many deadwoods and compromised individuals in Cabinet."Ordinarily the aim of any cabinet reshuffle must be to strengthen the capacity of the state. But in this case that is not the intention, especially with the retention of so many deadwoods and compromised individuals in Cabinet."