There have been calls in recent weeks for Ramaphosa to get rid of some of his Cabinet ministers.
Calls for a Cabinet reshuffle are gaining momentum, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) criticising President Cyril Ramphosa for failing to “reassure the nation”.
The calls come in light of the recent violent protests and looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, as well as the contradictory statements made by some ministers – including Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – over the unrest.
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This has led to some political analysts suggesting that Ramphosa was “being betrayed by members of his Cabinet” while others blamed infighting within the African National Congress (ANC).
‘Confidence at an all-time low’
In a statement, DA leader John Steenhuisen pointed out that Ramaphosa should have announced the immediate axing of suspended Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, as well as that of Police Minister Bheki Cele, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo during his address on Sunday night.
“Tonight, president Ramaphosa should have reassured the nation by announcing a cabinet clean-up. Nothing else is going to cut it. For starters, South Africa needs a full-time health minister to manage a full-time pandemic response.
“He should have announced that he has fired Health Minister Zweli Mkhize for his part in the Digital Vibes scandal and that he has replaced him with a competent individual with the skills and experience to make the right decisions.
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“It beggars belief that Mkhize is still on fully-paid leave, over six weeks after his suspension. If Mkhize is innocent, then Ramaphosa would have released the Digital Vibes report by now, and we call on him to do this.
“The public has a right to know. South Africans are tired of being treated like children. The president should also have announced competent replacements for Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, both of whom have completely failed South Africa,” he said.
Steenhuisen said the reshuffle was needed because “trust in Ramaphosa’s administration is at an all-time low”.
“Confidence in South Africa is at an all-time low and only a wholesale cabinet clean-up is going to get people to believe in this country again. Hapless Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe must be replaced with someone who understands the urgency to bring down the cost and increase the supply of electricity by opening South Africa’s energy market.
“Structural reform has never been more urgent. Any minister standing in the way of progress must be summarily replaced,” the DA leader further said.
Sphere of the state
Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said that it remained concerned that Ramaphosa had forgotten that Parliament was “a sphere of the state”.
“While we welcome this decision, we remain concerned that the President, together with the executive, have forgotten that Parliament is a sphere of the state. We find the lack of transparency and consultation with the leaders of political parties in Parliament worrying.
“We therefore call for greater consultation in decision-making processes, as there has been no consultation of late with leaders of political parties, who represent the people of South Africa,” the party said in a statement.