The far-reaching consequences of last week’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle, the plunging Rand and the country’s credit rating downgrade have hit Limpopo shores, to such an extent that already divided ruling party supporters are reportedly crossing enemy lines to secretly throw their weight behind the opposition’s efforts to see the toppling of the Zuma presidency.
In addition a group of local businessmen and commercial farmers were expected to enter into a meeting with ruling party cadres in Polokwane yesterday (Wednesday) to mobilise against President Jacob Zuma, whose conduct was perceived to pose a risk to their concerns, it was reliably learnt.
Zuma’s decision to, among others, remove former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas and replace them with Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi has seemingy driven the wedge between ANC divisions even deeper. The effects of the reshuffle are expected to have an impact on ruling party preparations for the 2019 elections.
For the first time the South African Communist Party (SACP) in Limpopo took a decision for Zuma to go when it met for a Provincial General Council (PGC) in Polokwane on the weekend. SACP Limpopo spokesperson Machike Thobejane informed Polokwane Observer that the decision had been taken for Zuma to resign as the country was considered to be in a downward spiral in all respects. “He doesn’t have the moral and revolutionary standing to lead, that is why we feel he must go home.”
The SACP structure in the province was equally vocal on its support of Premier Stan Mathabatha who is seen to be the target of demands for his resignation. Thobejane stressed that they would fight the pro-Zuma faction in the province on it.
Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Provincial Secretary Gerald Twala could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press. However, in an interview with Polokwane Observer, Cosatu Deputy General Secretary Solly Phetoe who attended yesterday’s Provincial Shop Stewards’ Council in Polokwane alluded to the call by Cosatu for Zuma to step down and allow the government to be led by someone who had the credibility.
At the time of going to press African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Secretary Nocks Seabi addressed a presser at Frans Mohlala House in Polokwane, saying that during a special Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting on Monday the executive had taken note of developments in the country and calls by opposition parties to shut down South Africa and soliciting support of ANC parliamentarians (MPs) to vote against the President. “We are adamant that none of the ANC MPs must be fooled to vote with the opposition parties in the purported motion of no confidence.”
As part of last week’s reshuffle processes several of Limpopo’s own were respectively deployed into positions or removed from their seats as ministers and deputy-ministers. Joe Maswanganyi, Member of Parliament and member of the PEC of the ANC, now serves as Minister of Transport.
He will occupy the seat formerly held by Dipuo Peters.
Faith Muthambi, also from Limpopo, was moved from the communications portfolio to that of Public Service and Administration. Erstwhile Limpopo Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who used to serve in the position, counts among several casualties. Ayanda Dlodlo was appointed as Communications Minister, after her former position of Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration was given to Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, who is Limpopo’s former Agriculture MEC.
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, formerly Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture who also hails from Limpopo, was removed from the position. It was entrusted to Maggie Sotyu, who had to make way for Bongani Mkongi as new Deputy Minister of Police to serve under former Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula as newly appointed Minister of Police. He replaces Nathi Nhleko, who will now be Minister of Public Works. His predecessor, Thulas Nxesi was slotted into the Sports and Recreation position.
Currently anti-Zuma campaigns, demands for him to step down and pleas for a recall are being steered from almost all angles. Already speculation is gaining ground as to whether citizens would heed a call for a complete shutdown in making their voices heard in protest against Zuma action tomorrow (Friday).
While the Democratic Alliance has apparently changed the route for its March for Change protest in Johannesburg tomorrow to solicit support for a vote of no confidence in Parliament against Zuma, the Save SA campaign is seemingly gearing up for a noon march to the Union Buildings tomorrow as well as other initiatives carrying the same message elsewhere.
Story: YOLANDE NEL
Photo & video: HERBERT RACHUENE