AS PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma faces a possible backlash within the ANC following his recent cabinet reshuffle, the party’s Mpumalanga Chairperson and Premier David Mabuza has labelled Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as ill-disciplined.
His comments follow the two ANC top brass’ public statements in which they distanced themselves from Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle.
Mantashe said the list of new cabinet members was decided somewhere while Ramaphosa said the decision to fire former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was unexpected.
Mabuza is one of Zuma’s closest allies in the ruling party and a member of the so-called Premier League – an informal but powerful lobby group which also includes the premiers of the Free State, Ace Magashule and his North West counterpart, Supra Mahumapelo.
“I can hear the SG is talking to say ‘he just told us’, I can hear the DP speaking, and they must remember they are not presidents. He is deputy president, he is SG. I don’t know whether they want to exercise the same powers that the president has, its quiet an ill discipline that people will go out and talk,” Mabuza said.
This came after Mantashe publicly accused Zuma of merely informing the ANC’s most senior officials about his reshuffle than meaningfully consulting them.
He said the top six officials were not consulted but informed about the changes.
Mantashe said the list of new ministers “came from somewhere.”
He added that, usually before a decision of that magnitude was taken, there is a debate but this time around they were given told that Cabinet would be reshuffled.
Ramaphosa, on the other hand, said he was opposed to the removal of Gordhan as finance minister.
He was replaced by former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Ramaphosa said he raised his concern and objection on the removal of the Minister of Finance, largely because he was being removed based on an intelligence report that he believe had unsubstantiated allegations.
Mabuza said Ramaphosa and Mantashe should have dealt with their unhappiness internally than hang the organisations’ dirty laundry for all to see.
“You can’t hang your dirty linen out there. Who are you trying to appease? It’s incorrect. I don’t think they are setting a good example, we are working hard on the ground here to unite the ANC and I can see they are working to divide the ANC,” Mabuza lamented.
“If they have issues that they must resolve, they must go inside a meeting so we can resolve them. It’s not interesting to hear them differing in public, it does not make us feel good. It doesn’t.”
Mabuza, however, did not reprimand ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize for making a public statement on the same issue.
In his statement, Mkhize said the ANC leadership should have been consulted on the cabinet reshuffle.
The former KwaZulu-Natal premier said Zuma’s decision deprived the collective of executing its mandate.
“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 responsibly to advise politically on executive matters,” Mkhize said.
However, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has come out in support of Zuma, saying it was his prerogative to reshuffle cabinet and that he did not have to consult the ANC top six.
Mabuza sent out a strong message to ANC MPs not to have “funny ideas” of trying to vote out Zuma.
The EFF has approached the Constitutional Court to force Parliament to impeach Zuma.
The DA, for its part, has written to Speaker Baleka Mbete requesting a vote of no confidence.
Mabuza reminded ANC MPs that they serve at the pleasure of the ANC and have a duty to toe the party line.
“All the comrades that are there have been deployed there. They can’t vote against the ANC, they will always defend the ANC, that’s the party line. You vote with the DA, with the EFF we are going to remove you and deploy another comrade there and reverse that thing because we are the majority there. That vote is not yours, we borrowing it to you, it’s the vote of the ANC,” Mabuza added.