South African Communist Party (SACP) members serving in various ministries, in the ANC's National Executive Committee and in Parliament will stay put -- for now.
In an urgent press conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday, SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said the party's various structures will meet to discuss the way forward and make a decision on whether its members serving on several ANC constituencies will remain there.
This comes after President Jacob Zuma, in a surprise midday Cabinet reshuffle, axed SACP leader Blade Nzimande from his position as the minister of Higher Education and Training.
"This is a clear declaration of war on the SACP...This reshuffle is a decoy. There was no reshuffle, the intention was to remove [Nzimande]," Mapaila said.
"Cabinet does not belong to Zuma. We fight together in the trenches with the ANC. It is clear that he (Zuma) has detached himself from the ANC."
He said an urgent Politburo meeting would be convened to discuss the matter.
"For now, they (SACP members) will remain where they are," he said. "We will decide in that meeting whether [Nzimande] will remain in Parliament."
Mapaila said that Zuma did not inform Nzimande or the SACP of the reshuffle and his intentions to remove the party's boss. He said Nzimande was told after it was announced in the media.
"Zuma has never accepted constructive criticism... We want comrades in Cabinet to fight against corruption," Mapaila said.
"The alliance has a mission to transform South Africa into a democratic society... therefore, it is critical that we in the alliance agree. We have always elevated the whole question of the alliance."
Talking about Zuma, Mapaila said when someone is "delusional", he has no sense of reason. He said the SACP would put "hawk eyes" on the energy portfolio now that former State Security boss David Mahlobo is in charge.
"We will not allow South Africa to be mortgaged to any other country... Any minister who thinks they will use this opportunity to sell our country, we will meet them," Mapaila said.