SAFTU statement on Cabinet reshuffle

The South African Federation of Trade unions has noted with concern yet another Cabinet reshuffle by a clearly desperate President Zuma.

The new ministers are;

1. Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize is the Minister of Higher Education and Training
2. Ms Ayanda Dlodlo is the Minister of Home Affairs
3. Ms Mmamaloko Kubayi is the Minister of Communications
4. Mr David Mahlobo is the Minister of Energy
5. Adv. Bongani Thomas Bongo is the Minister of State Security
6. Mr Buti Manamela is the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training.

The dismissal of Blade Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education has formalised the factional split within the tripartite alliance. As the SACP itself has just said, “these manoeuvres” have placed the Alliance “on the brink of disintegration”.

SAFTU has been highly critical of Nzimande’s role in Government, for both his failure to meet the legitimate demands of the #fees must fall campaign or to make any attempt to introduce free tertiary education, and his long silence on the levels of corruption within the government of which he was part.

Nzimande’s recent opposition to the ‘state-capture’ and looting of public money was linked to the factional leadership battles within the ruling party, rather than any sudden return to the communist principles which he long ago abandoned.

He will be remembered for his long silence during the years in which he was part of a government imposing neoliberal pro-capitalist economic policies and his leading role in the move to have NUMSA expelled from COSATU when they ended their support for the ANC. Any credentials as a ‘communist’ have long disappeared.

His studied silence during the overt racism expressed by the Cosatu GP Provincial Secretary against a South African of Chinese descent also marked his abandonment of even the most basic requirement of a socialist…. to condemn racism whenever it raises its ugly head. This was yet another ‘convenient silence’ to maintain a factional advantage, regardless of the divisive consequences.

Zuma’s reshuffle is clearly another desperate attempt to stave off his prosecution on 783 charges of corruption in the arms deal and the more recent criminal activities being exposed daily in the guptaleak emails and by brave whistle-blowers, in all of which he his alleged to have been playing s central role, the spider at the centre of a web of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

This looting has led to the bankrupting of one state-owned enterprise after another – SAA, Eskom, Prasa, Denel and SABC – and ironically the reshuffle has been proclaimed on the same day on which the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises is hearing submissions, including one from SAFTU, on the crisis in these SOEs and the threat to use public servants pension funds to bail them out.

As SAFTU says in its submission, MPs cannot seriously discuss the future of SOEs without linking this to the overwhelming evidence of tender manipulation, corruption and mismanagement within them.

The new minsters are close allies who he hopes will toe the line. David Mahlobo’s appointment as Energy Minister is presumably to push through, before Zuma’s departure, the biggest corrupt project of all – the nuclear deal with Russia.

Mahlobo has reportedly accompanied Zuma on at least one state visit to Russia, to meet President Vladimir Putin. The Sunday Times reported last month that Mahlobo accompanied ex-convicts Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene to Russia to present themselves as BEE partners to Russian oil and gas company Rosgeo for a R5bn deal.

This reshuffle has exposed even more disunity within the ANC, with Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe openly expressing his disappointment with Nzimande’s removal.

This latest attempt to shift the deckchairs on the Titanic makes SAFTU more determined than ever to fight for Zuma’s dismissal. He is obviously not going to resign voluntarily but will do everything possible to cling on to power and hold on to his loot.

South Africans are sick and angry at the corruption, fraud and the looting of the country’s resources. They are even more sickened by the NPA’s refusal so far to take any of the cases to court, despite the overwhelming evidence from whistle-blowers and leaked e-mails.

He is obviously not going to resign voluntarily and although the ANC may say it is disappointed they are not going to do anything to get rid of their leader, despite the damage his is doing to both the country and the ANC itself.

The only way to get rid of him is by mass action by workers, poor communities and civil society. SAFTU has already called for an immediate consultation between all civil society formations and other South Africans who want to defend the rule of law to join hands in a non-partisan fashion to force Zuma out and rescue the country from its descent into a failed state run by criminals.

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