JOHANNESBURG, October 19 – The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) came out in support of President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday, welcoming the latest Cabinet reshuffle and the axing of South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary, Blade Nzimande, as Higher Education and Training Minister.
“The ANCYL welcomes these effected changes with high hope that the new minister and deputy minister [of higher education and training] will help speed up the process of free education for the poor and the needy. We want to call on all those who are aggrieved by the reshuffle to stop passing mischievous comments. The ANC remains the only organisation that deploys its members, leadership and cadres to various institutions of government and therefore no one should think that the his excellency [Zuma] has offended a component of the alliance,” spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said in a statement.
“Dr Bonginkosi [Blade] Nzimade is deployed by the ANC, no one else. The ANCYL, calls on those who are using this to drive a wedge between President Zuma and SACP leadership to stop doing so. If his excellency was fighting with leaders of the SACP cdes [cadres] like Buti Manamela, Thulasi Nxesi, Senzeni Zokwana, Jeff Radebe, Jeremy Cronin, and Ben Martins, amongst others, would have been recalled. We want to caution cde [cadre] Solly Mapaila the first deputy general secretary of the SACP to stop with his posture because it is not helping the alliance.
“It is perpetuating differences and making the vanguard Party to be viewed and be treated like a cde [cadre] Dr Blade entity and vanguard for him not the working class.”
Zuma announced changes to his Cabinet via email on Tuesday morning. In the statement from the presidency, Zuma announced that Hlengiwe Mkhize would replace Nzimande and Buti Manamela would be deputy minister.
The Home Affairs portfolio, which was held by Mkhize, would now be filled by Ayanda Dlodlo. Dlodlo’s post as Communications Minister would be filled by Mmamaloko Kubayi (former energy minister). The new Energy Minister is David Mahlobo, who’s previous post as State Security Minister would be filled by MP Bongani Bongo.
The ANCYL said it comprehended the reshuffle to be “informed by the assessment of the work” performed by various departments.
“The ANCYL welcomes these effected changes with high hope that the new Minister and deputy Minister will help speed up the process of free education for the poor and the needy. The ANCYL is utterly disturbed, to say the least, by the apolitical utterances made by the secretary general [SG] of the ANC, Comrade Gwede Mantashe on consultative reshuffling,” Mkhize said.
“The SG tacitly insinuates that the officials were not consulted. By so doing the SG is directly casting aspersions on President Zuma as being non-consultative. It is a known fact that 2017 is a silly-season, we therefore request the SG, as the engine of the organisation to own up to the decisions of the officials and not to allow himself to be caught in the succession race politics thereby compromising the integrity of the very important office of the Secretary General.”
On Tuesday, Mantashe described Nzimande’s axing as disappointing and he said that the relationship between the ANC and the SACP was at its lowest and the axing was not helping to strengthen ties.
“I don’t want to speak for the communist party but what I’m prepared to accept the alliance relationship is at its lowest. Many things that are happening are not helping to build that relationship,” Mantashe said while speaking to eNCA.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, Mapaila said that the communist party would not allow itself to be “cajoled” by Zuma into accepting Nzimande’s axing, but said that the party would not allow the tripartite alliance to collapse because of their differences.
“This is a clear declaration of war on the SACP by President Zuma because it is quite clear that the decision has nothing to do with strengthening the State or Cabinet. In any case, he has retained deadwood in that Cabinet, people who are laced with corruption and scandals yet he is not removing them,” Mapaila said at the time.
“This reshuffle was actually a decoy. There was no reshuffle actually. The intention was just to remove comrade Blade, essentially that is what Zuma has done. That is why we are reading it clear, it’s an attack on the SACP and we are going to effectively respond back to him as the SACP.”