Zuma's cabinet reshuffle not surprising: Maimane

File: DA leader Mmusi Maimane also stated that President Jacob Zuma is settling political scores ahead of the much anticipated conference. Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marais

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday said it was not surprised by President Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle.

Zuma announced the changes on Tuesday morning, which saw the axing of South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande from the Higher Education ministry.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane described the reshuffle as the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of State Capture.

“The obvious target was SACP leader, Dr. Blade Nzimande, who follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office,” Maimane said.

“The SACP has been dealt an insulting blow and they must now decide how long they will put up with this abuse, or if they will now do what they know is right and begin to work outside the ANC.”

READ: SACP slams 'factional' removal of Nzimande as Minister

Speaking on other changes to the executive, Maimane said Mahlobo’s appointment to the Energy ministry is connected to the nuclear deal.

“Blade’s axing has also provided the pretext for yet another reshuffling of Zuma sycophants, none more pliant than new Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo,” Maimane said.

“This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multibillion rand nuclear deal with the Russians.”

This is the second reshuffle this year.

In March, Zuma axed five ministers, including then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba.

READ: Zuma should have reshuffled himself, says Malema

The move comes just months before the ANC is set to hold its 54th National Conference in December where Zuma’s successor will be elected.

Maimane says Zuma is settling political scores ahead of the much anticipated conference.

“This reshuffle has nothing to do with effecting good governance and ensuring the best people serve our country,” he said.

“On the contrary, Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year.

“This just reaffirms what the DA has said all along – the ANC exists solely as an organisation committed to self-enrichment and self-advancement – all at the expense of the South African people.

“Come 2019, South Africans must use their power to vote out this self-serving ANC government at the ballot box and choose a new beginning for our country.”

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