A major cabinet shake-up is on the cards, with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma expected to be named as a new minister.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Dlamini-Zuma will be named the minister of higher education, after which it is believed the plan is for her to be the one to announce free education at tertiary level and win over voters.
However, a source close to Dlamini-Zuma said that she had only discovered through the media that she was being deployed to parliament.
According to a separate report by the City Press, insiders also confirmed the move, saying that making Dlamini-Zuma a minister would pave the way for her to take over leadership of the party, and make it easier for Zuma to step down in early 2018.
This was “the plan all along”, insiders said, adding that a serious shake-up of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus will soon follow, likely to get rid of Ramaphosa supporters, including the outspoken ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu.
Contrary to reports of the president stepping down early next year, the Sunday Times reports that there is growing suspicion that Zuma may want to stay as party leader.
“He can’t trust anyone. When he endorsed NDZ he was under the impression that she will protect him. Now he is paranoid. He will stand. He is even telling people he will,” a senior source in the Ramaphosa campaign said this week.
These rumours were confirmed by a National Executive Committee member (NEC) who said they were not ruling out that possibility.
“I think everyone knows the NDZ campaign is flat and so we are prepared for that eventuality,” he said.
The campaign source said a third-term bid by Zuma would only help Ramaphosa’s presidential ambitions.