Editorial

Zuma goes from petty to scary in a single reshuffle

22 October 2017 - 02:23 By SUNDAY TIMES

President Jacob Zuma’s desire to retain total control of the state and to create an environment for him to install his preferred successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, knows no boundaries.
In his quest to protect himself beyond his term of office, the president is willing to collapse state machinery and plunge the country into a crisis, as long as he gets what he wants. It explains his recent cabinet reshuffle, which was implemented without consulting even his closest allies in the ANC.
This is why ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general ZweliMkhize have come out to say Zuma did not consult them.
None of Zuma’s allies, including deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and nationalchairwoman Baleka Mbete, have come to defend him.
Zuma ’s new changes boggle the mind; they strengthen the impression that he ratesblind loyalty over vision or competence, and flash a bright red warning light over apossible Russian nuclear deal that would ruin the finances of the country.
It boggles the mind because of the ministers he shifted and shafted. Of the changes hemade, one was motivated by the desire to settle a petty score, three followed as aconsequence of that, and one was bone-chillingly scary for the future financial stabilityof the country.The removal of Blade Nzimande as minister of higher education and training is clearlythe settling of a personal score with the SACP general secretary, who has joined thechorus of criticism of the corruption and malfeasance known as state capture – criticism Zuma may take rather personally.
Much as it is true that higher education did little more than limp along under Nzimande’s watch, Zuma could have done much better by removing ministers who havefared worse. The names of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini stand out, to name only two — but they are Zuma loyalists.
Academic Hlengiwe Mkhize has now been installed in Nzimande’s place. In her previous home affairs portfolio she did not cover herself in glory during the dodgy suspension of director - general Mkuseli Apleni, but could surely not have been judged a failure after only seven months in the job.Into home affairs shifts Ayanda Dlodlo, who found herself in trouble with Zuma andhis supporters for agreeing with the reversal of some of the controversial policy decisions taken by the SABC during the disastrous reign of former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. For her efforts, she even received death threats.
Dlodlo ’s replacement at communications, Nkhensani Kubayi, spent only seven months at the hot seat in energy. During that time she was hardly stellar and showed little grasp of the complicated portfolio, but at least she was considered to be trying her best to do the right thing most of the time.

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