21/10/2017 08:01 SAST | Updated 21/10/2017 08:01 SAST

SACP: Zuma's Cabinet Reshuffle A 'Desperate' Move

"This was not the move of a master chess player."

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The recent cabinet reshuffle was a "desperate" move by President Jacob Zuma, the SACP said on Friday.

"This was not the move of a master chess player, as some in the media are suggesting," spokesperson Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo said in a statement following a meeting of the special central committee of the SACP on Friday.

"It was a desperate move by a desperate man who increasingly bypasses his own Cabinet, his own ANC NEC [national executive council], his own ANC top six, let alone the broad alliance, in an attempt to ram through his own private agenda," Mashilo said.

He said the reshuffling was "a desperate move in the context of repeated defeats and rebuffs for the Zuma-Gupta axis, including the downfall of Brian Molefe, Dudu Myeni, and Hlaudi Motsoeneng".

Zuma made six changes to his Cabinet on Tuesday morning, which included shifting between portfolios ministers who were appointed to new ministries during the late-night March reshuffle.

Zuma said he made the changes after "careful consideration".

Nzimande's removal 'a badge of collective honour'

The president fired Blade Nzimande, who was minister of higher education and training, and replaced him with Hlengiwe Mkhize, former home affairs minister.

Other appointments include Ayanda Dlodlo, who was minister of communications, and is now handling the home affairs portfolio.

Mmamoloko Kubayi, who was in charge of energy, took up a position as minister of communications.

Bongani Thomas Bongo replaced David Mahlobo as minister of state security. Mahlobo is now minister of energy.

"The serial replacement of successive ministers of energy is a sign of desperation as President Zuma tries futilely to ram through a nuclear procurement programme that our country neither needs nor can afford.

"As the new minister will quickly discover, if Cabinet does not reject the nuclear deal, Parliament will, if Parliament does not, the courts will. If those structures are bypassed, the new minister will find himself in jail," Mashilo said.

The SACP said it wore Nzimande's removal as a collective badge of honour.

"Reckless as the move was, it came as no surprise to the SACP."