17 October 2017

South Africa: Blade Nzimande Axed As Higher Education Minister

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was the only casualty in President Jacob Zuma's second reshuffle in less than seven months.

Zuma announced that after "careful consideration", he decided to make six changes to his Cabinet that includes shifting ministers who had just been appointed to new portfolios during the controversial midnight March reshuffle, labelled the "night of the long knives".

The changes include shifting Hlengiwe Mkhize to the higher education portfolio to replace Nzimande. The only new addition is relatively unknown Bongani Thomas Bongo who was appointed state security minister.

Ousting Nzimande is seen as show of force and clamping down on dissent in his Cabinet, as the general secretary of the SACP has led the charge for Zuma to go.

Relations between Zuma and Nzimande have been described to be at an all time low, as the SACP that had propelled him to power, had turned out to be one of his biggest critics.

The party, which is in an alliance with the ANC has called for Zuma to step down and has banned him from addressing its events.

The turning point in the relationship, was when SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila, publicly announced that Zuma had used a "dodgy" intelligence report to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

The badly written report claimed that Gordhan was leading a campaign to oust Zuma.

Zuma is said to have also cancelled alliance council meetings to discuss the fallout within the tripartite alliance.

Announcement of changes to the National Executive by President Jacob Zuma https://t.co/5lKrhWqH6a-- PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) October 17, 2017

Other appointments include Ayanda Dlodo, who was minister of communications, and will now handle the home affairs portfolio. Mmamaloko Kubayi, who was in charge of energy will take up a position as minister of communications.

David Mahlobo, who was minister of state security, will now head-up the energy portfolio.

Deputy minister in the office of the presidency Buti Manamela will now be the deputy minister of higher education.

This comes after Mduduzi Manana quit the position following his assault of three women at the Cubana nightclub in August. He was subsequently convicted of assault after pleading guilty.

Source: News24

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