Zuma stuns Top Six with cabinet edict
President Jacob Zuma shocked even his closest allies when he told the ANC top six about his decision to remove SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande from his cabinet.
Unlike previous reshuffles, when Zuma informed his allies before presenting his list to the top six, the Sunday Times understands that Zuma did not even consult those in the ANC who are considered to be close to him.
On the agenda at Monday's meeting was the leadership struggle in the Eastern Cape following a disputed conference.Zuma arrived from Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday night after spending three days travelling across Africa.
He arrived at Luthuli House on Monday a little later than usual. At about 11am the officials of the ANC gathered for their usual Monday meeting.
According to Luthuli House insiders, Zuma introduced the reshuffle topic by informing the officials of his plans to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of disgraced former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana.
Zuma's first choice to replace Manana, an unnamed female ANC MP, was rejected by all ANC officials.
"All of the officials didn't want that woman for some reason or the other," said a party insider privy to discussions at Monday's meeting.
Zuma then listed the other changes he wanted to make to his executive, including the removal of Nzimande. This stunned the officials, who worried about the implication such a move would have on the already strained relations with the communists.
Zuma did not justify his decision but listened to objections.
"The immediate concern was how soon he was reshuffling the cabinet since the last one ... it shows uncertainty," the Luthuli House insider said.