The weekend rumour mill hit fever pitch overnight, after a report in the Sunday Independent claimed that some of the most experienced members of Cyril Ramaphosa’s inner-circle could be targeted in an alleged Cabinet reshuffle. The whispers roused our online community, with Duduzane Zuma posting his reaction:
MKHIZE, CELE AND DLAMINI-ZUMA ON CABINET RESHUFFLE RADAR
Incredibly, Zweli Mkhize and Bheki Cele find themselves amongst the prime targets. It’s understood that the president is at loggerheads with his senior colleagues, following a series of arguments about the cigarette ban. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also been identified as a potential minister in the cross-hairs.
The inside sources have claimed that a ‘civil war’ is on the horizon for the ANC, reporting that a full-blown Cabinet reshuffle could ‘make or break’ Ramaphosa’s political future:
“If he touches the so-called untouchables [Sisulu, Cele, NDZ] – and if he can be resolute in terms of why he has done so, and he can justify it from a governance point of view, and not merely from ANC politics heavyweight point of view, that could strengthen him. The same things could make him lose, though…”
POSSIBLE CABINET RESHUFFLE: WHO COULD BE MOVED?
It’s believed the following changes are under consideration:
- Zweli Mkhize is rumoured to be swapping positions with former health minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
- Lindiwe Sisulu would, allegedly, move to Agriculture – pushing Thoko Didiza to Social Development.
- Senzo Mchunu would fill in at the Water Department, with Lindiwe Zulu taking his Public Service portfolio.
- Education Minister Angie Motshekga could become an official in the presidency, with Free State education MEC Tate Makgoe stepping up to take responsibility for schools on a national level.
- Bheki Cele and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma may also be targeted by a tactical Cabinet reshuffle, with their fates undecided.
- Patricia de Lille is the subject of vague speculation, with her Public Works position facing further scrutiny.
RAMAPHOSA’S RUMOURED RESTRUCTURE
Mkhize enjoyed universal acclaim at the beginning of the pandemic but has faced increasing criticism after South Africa pressed forward with its lockdown phases. Lindiwe Sisulu is mired in controversy at the Water Department, and the likes of Motshekga, Cele, and NDZ have had their policy decisions questioned during the global health crisis. Any possible Cabinet reshuffle could be seen as an attempt to hit the reset button…
But, more likely, it would serve as a statement of intent from Ramaphosa. You can expect denials and rejections to form the official party line, should they choose to reflect these claims. But it would be difficult to argue that everyone within Luthuli House is singing from the same hymn sheet at the moment.