Anti-Zuma ministers have threatened to resign in mass numbers if president Jacob Zuma initiates a cabinet reshuffle that adversely affects National Treasury, according to the City Press.
The paper reported that its inside sources have said that a cabinet reshuffle will tear the ANC in two, with the prospect of a major split in the party now becoming ‘very real’.
Government officials have denied that Zuma will initiate a reshuffle, despite the time being perfect for one, with ANC MP Brian Molefe being hurriedly sworn in and former AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma returning to the fold.
According to the City Press, should Zuma shuffle ministers around and remove important figures from National Treasury, the anti-Zuma lobby, led by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, would resign from key portfolios, but would retain their membership to Parliament.
They would then initiate a vote of no confidence in Zuma, the report said.
This is not the first time that such threats have leaked out to the public however, with speculation in late 2016 that the anti-Zuma lobby would resign and launch a vote of no confidence after the party’s NEC, in which many of the president’s detractors in government made themselves known.
Nothing came of the rumours, however.
It has been floating around for some time that president Jacob Zuma is gearing up for a cabinet reshuffle, with some insiders saying that it could even happen on Sunday (26 February).
The move would be used as an opportunity to place Dlamini-Zuma in a prominent portfolio, to add credence to her bid for the ANC presidency, while also getting rid of the ministers who stood opposed to the president at the late-2016 NEC meeting.
It is understood that Zuma also wants to place fresh MP Brian Molefe somewhere within the finance ministry – possibly as deputy finance minister.
Zuma met with allies during a closed-door event at the Oyster Box hotel this week, further fueling speculation that a big move was imminent.
Apart from the possible political fallout, analysts have said that any adverse move on National Treasury, especially against finance minister Pravin Gordhan, will cause upset in the markets, and drive ratings agencies to cut the country to junk status almost immediately.
You can read the full report in the City Press for 26 February 2016.