ANC Top 6 member Zweli Mkhize believes that President Jacob Zuma’s wanton ignoring of his party’s concerns over this week’s Cabinet reshuffle shows that he has gone on his own and that the party no longer comes first.
In a statement issued on Saturday morning‚ Mkhize‚ the ANC’s treasurer general and once staunch Zuma ally‚ confirmed Number One did not consult other members of the Top 6 when making the changes – something that always happens with reshuffles.
“Unlike previous consultations which take place with senior officials of the ANC during such appointments‚ and changes to the composition of the national executive‚ the briefing by the President left a distinct impression that the ANC is no longer the centre and thus depriving the leadership collective of its responsibility to advise politically on executive matters. Ordinarily this is how leadership takes collective responsibility for decisions made.
“This is no way meant to undermine the prerogative of the President of the Republic in reshuffling or making changes to his cabinet‚ which is derived from the Constitution of South Africa. However it is to ensure that such decisions made can be owned‚ justified and defended by the leadership collective in the interest of the ANC and the people of South Africa‚” he said.
Mkhize added that he had “reservations” about how Zuma handled the matter this week. On Thursday‚ Zuma made 20 changes to his cabinet‚ including the axing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.
“The discomfort around this current reshuffle arises from concerning circumstances of the recall of the Minister of Finance from an important international investment promotion tour‚ the surfacing of an intelligence report which appears to be dubious at the least‚ and as a consequence‚ the negative public image and possible undesirable effects on our country’s economy‚ all of which the ANC as the ruling party has to take responsibility for‚” he said.
But Mkhize was also scathing in that Zuma retained deadwood ministers.
“While there are many outstanding cabinet ministers with regards to integrity and performance‚ we need to admit that there are also several serving ministers whose performance is unsatisfactory‚ hence they have attracted severe criticism as public representatives against whom appropriate action would be expected. The ANC leadership can therefore not justify to be seen to have ignored or not considered these glaring factors in a cabinet reshuffle‚” he said.