It’s really obvious that this cabinet reshuffle was a front to rid Blade Nzimande from Cabinet. Who were the most critically vocal about Zuma within the tripartite alliance in recent months? the SACP.
This is the one thing that the Zuma cabal are always guaranteed to do – anyone in close proximity the President – whether they are in cabinet, the ANC NEC or Parliament, who betray the tacit agreement of no public criticism towards the President – will be either be downgraded with redeployment or axed. Not only is this a subtle war against the right of freedom of expression of government leaders, it is a chiefly state riddled with parochial paranoia.
But why hasn’t NDZ been put in Cabinet after her recent return to Parliament? This was something most of us expected and subsequently confirmed by media reports that the ANC presidential hopeful would get a seat in Cabinet as a possible successor to Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education and Training. NDZ would then have the honour of announcing a possible free-tuition university policy (a negligent tactic assumed to help boost her failing campaign).
Why else would Zuma still be ‘studying’ the report compiled by the Heher Commission, despite receiving said report on August 31st? Unless there is something in it that report the President is avoiding to publicly disclose?
Meanwhile, David Mahlobo has been shuffled from State Security to Energy. His change of portfolio is far from a punishment. On the contrary, Mahlobo, like Mbalula, have always been dedicated Zuma defenders. But Mahlobo has come under recent public scrutiny when Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was reported to have consulted with the President and the State Security with possible remedial action in recommendations for her ABSA/Bankorp report. This resulted in her having been criticised for compromising her impartiality and independence.
But David has always been a loyal lad to Zuma. Thus he is moved to avoid anymore confrontation from the Mhkwebane story, but only to be rewarded with the State Captured portfolio of energy – the exact department Zuma needs to retain control if he ever wishes to pursue further nuclear ambitions with the Russians, or broker shadowy deals for private energy/fuel companies as had been done with the Guptas not so long ago.
In a nutshell, this unexpected 12th cabinet reshuffle of the Zuma presidency is a brutal swipe at dissidents and a fresh start for trusted loyalists who did not enjoy a change of portfolio during the March Midnight reshuffle earlier this year.