17/10/2017 13:23 SAST | Updated 17/10/2017 13:38 SAST

Mmusi Maimane: Zuma Is Firing His Critics, And Offering Promotions In Exchange For Support Ahead Of The Elective Conference

"The obvious target was SACP leader Blade Nzimande."

Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he is not surprised by the changes made in President Jacob Zuma's latest cabinet reshuffle because the president is "trying to eliminate any critics".

"Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics, and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December this year," Maimane said in a statement on Tuesday.

He specifically mentions the removal of Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande, who has recently been openly critical of the president. Nzimande, who is also the general secretary of the SACP, has been at the forefront of campaigning for Zuma to step down.

"The obvious target was SACP leader Dr Blade Nzimande, who follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office," he said.

Maimane said the communist party has been dealt a hard blow and should consider severing its alliance with the ANC.

He then explains that former State Security minister David Mahlobo was appointed as the minister of Energy, saying it "smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC's efforts to chain our country to a multibillion rand nuclear deal with the Russians".

Mahlobo is known for his close ties with the president and his recent involvement in a multi-billion rand gas exploration deal with Russian firm Rosgeo.

Maimane urges South Africans to vote out the "self-serving" governing party in the 2019 national elections.