President Jacob Zuma has gone rogue. His Cabinet reshuffle announced today is neither rational nor logical.
Instead, it is the mark of a late-term kleptocrat acting only in the interests of his own patronage network. It is also a punitive reshuffle in which he has chopped now former Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who is also boss of the South African Communist Party.
The SACP is campaigning for Zuma to step down and by cutting loose Nzimande he knows at least four other Cabinet members drawn from the party will have to walk. This will enable President Zuma to undertake a much wider reshuffle to install more cronies.
The biggest signalling appointment is that of David Mahlobo as minister of energy. Mahlobo recently fronted the signing of a multi-billion rand gas exploration deal with Russian firm Rosgeo. The new appointment puts the spy boss in charge of running a nuclear deal the president seems intent on - even though it could bankrupt South Africa.
President Zuma also moved out the freshly-minted communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo because he could not get his way on who will be on the SABC board.
The president made grudge appointments to the SABC board on Tuesday morning because he faced a looming court case to force his hand.
For that Dlodlo has been fired in a reshuffle that is the work of a raging bull of a president who is showing what the final time of his term will look like. Will the ANC recall its president gone rogue?