The Congress of the People on Wednesday welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s decision to axe Communications Minister Dina Pule.
“Minister Pule became the epitome of greed and abuse in Zuma’s Cabinet,” Cope spokesman JJ Abrie said in a statement.
“We called for minister Pule’s axing since last year…”
Zuma announced a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, axing three ministers –Pule, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi.
Abrie said the axing of Sexwale embedded fear among African National Congress members who still harboured ambitions to challenge Zuma’s rule.
“Since his return to active politics Sexwale never covered up his ambitions to wrestle power away from Zuma and his faction in the ANC.
“The Congress of the People will not be surprised if the close proximity between Tokyo Sexwale and the Economic Freedom Fighters of Julius Malema might now develop into a fully fledged and well-funded coalition of the wounded.”
Sexwale was said to be part of the “forces of change” which resisted Zuma’s re-election as ANC president at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung last year.
Sexwale lost his bid for the position of ANC deputy president and his seat on the party’s national executive committee.
The removal of Baloyi was a “breath of fresh air”, as he was a “non-starter”.
“Baloyi never managed to steer his department through stormy waters and… he went down as one of Zuma’s failed projects. He will be remembered as a hopeless underperformer,” said Abrie.
Cope was disappointed that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi escaped being fired.
The Media Workers’ Association of SA (Mwasa) expressed concern at the frequency of change in the communications ministry.
“Except for the forced replacement of late honourable Roy Padayachie, the other personnel changes have not served to enhance the performance of the ministry and its portfolio organisations,” general secretary Tuwani Gumani said in a statement.
“It is overwhelmingly concerning that such a critical portfolio has accounted for serious opportunity-costs in a world economy…”
Mwasa urged Yunus Carrim, who replaced Pule, to use his experience as an academic and a legislator to turn the ministry around.