President Cyril Ramaphosa. Flickr
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Flickr
President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering a cabinet reshuffle after this weekend’s ANC NEC meeting, Bloomberg is reporting quoting sources close to the deliberations.
This could signal a showdown between the president and his rivals within the African National Congress (ANC), the sources, who did not wish to be named, reportedly said as a public statement has not yet been issued.
It’s understood that Ramaphosa hasn’t discussed any possible changes with the ANC’s top six, as is customary, said Bloomberg, quoting another anonymous source.
ANC spokesman Pule Mabe, who asked that questions be sent by text, has yet to respond after the referral by presidency spokesman Tyrone Seale.
An under-fire Ramaphosa is looking for ways to revive South Africa’s stagnant economy and help boost investor confidence in his administration, while at the same time tackling South Africa’s corruption pandemic.
The battered and bruised economy, already in recession before the coronavirus outbreak struck, is forecast to contract 7.2% this year, according to the Treasury.
The near collapse of South Africa’s economy, partly due to the pandemic, has been exacerbated by the lack of reforms coming from the Ramaphosa administration, business leaders say.
Ramaphosa has talked of the urgent need for reforms to revive output, but the slow pace of government policy changes has drawn criticism from business leaders and labor unions.
The mines and energy ministry has been slow to approve new power plants and there’s been little progress in turning around the performance of the country’s flailing and indebted state owned enterprises overseen by the public enterprises ministry.
Ramaphosa is also under pressure to act decisively as the public standing of the ANC has taken a hammering from revelations that ruling party and government officials, and their family members, benefited handsomely from tenders to supply the government with medical equipment needed to fight the virus.
Last weekend, Ramaphosa wrote to party members saying they needed to root out corruption as the ANC has become ‘accused No.1.
On Friday, former President Jacob Zuma, himself facing corruption charges, wrote to Ramaphosa saying that his actions could “destroy the ANC.”
South Africa’s former finance minister Trevor Manuel has also weighed in on the corruption in the ANC.
“Not everybody in the ANC is corrupt, and let me say to the secretary-general of the ANC that neither I, my family, nor anybody I know has done business with the government. It isn’t so that everybody in the ANC does business in government, perhaps it applies in his circles, it doesn’t apply in the majority in the movement.”
Manuel was referring to secretary-general Ace Magashule’s claim that every leader in the ANC does or has done business with the government.
And in a series of Twitter posts last night that were later deleted, current Finance Minister and Ramaphosa ally Tito Mboweni decried the corruption in the party.
“This corruption THING must end now!” he said in one of the posts. “We cannot have thieves in our organisation.”
Mboweni has repeatedly expressed his frustration in government and has been said by analysts to be at risk of quitting.
If he did resign, his potential replacement could be Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, one of the sources said.