President Jacob Zuma 'informed' but did not 'consult' with the ANC's top six on his latest Cabinet reshuffle, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.
Blade Nzimande, now former minister of higher education and training, was the only casualty of Zuma's latest reshuffle, the second this year following a seismic ministerial shake-up in March. Four other ministers, including former state security minister David Mahlobo, have been moved to different departments.
Addressing journalists at Luthuli House shortly after the announcement was made, Mantashe said it was a "a pity... a cadre of the movement [Nzimande] regarded highly in the ANC" was axed.
Mantashe said Nzimande's removal will negatively impact the frail Tripartite Alliance, adding that relations are at their lowest.
An organization that is 105 years old, must manage succession. It must not be a free for all.— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) October 17, 2017
Mantashe also spoke briefly about the ANC's presidential race, now two months away, saying the upcoming conference is "not about Zuma" and succession must be "managed carefully".
He also took a swipe at presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu's recent comments in which she said Mantashe lacked credibility and was responsible for causing splits in the party.
On Tuesday, Mantashe said Sisulu's comments were "unfortunate" and criticsed her for associating struggle with being in exile only.
The ANC is expected to elect its new president in mid-December, following which President Jacob Zuma's term in office will conclude.