All your reshuffle questions answered
Who is Malusi Gigaba and what are his ties to the Guptas? Why wasn’t Brian Molefe appointed finance minister? Ralph Mathekga answers all your reshuffle questions.
Malusi Gigaba was minister of home affairs. Does he have the credentials to be finance minister?
RM: He doesn’t have any qualifications in finance, but he doesn’t necessarily need those. Trevor Manuel only had a qualification from a technical college when he became finance minister. He only needs credentials. Gigaba's time in public enterprises probably stands him in good stead by serving as some sort of credentials for the finance portfolio. He never served on the finance committee in Parliament. Although he’s a hard worker he didn’t deliver anything exceptional in any of his past portfolios and had a mixed performance at home affairs. I think he is willing to work hard to earn people’s respect, but unfortunately his credibility will always be compromised by the fact that he comes from the Zuma camp.
Why did Zuma choose him and what are his ties (if any) to the Guptas?
RM: Gigaba is a Zuma loyalist and if you’ve been listening to anecdotes about him in the past few months you would’ve seen indications that Zuma plans to pull him into the ANC top 6 on the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ticket at the elective conference later this year. As finance minister, this wouldn't look strange later to the ANC or to outsiders. The fact that he’s in the Guptas’ pocket is beyond speculation. There was, for instance, a clear illustration of this when he used his influence to wrest a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport from the Oppenheimers for the Guptas.
Why didn’t Zuma appoint Brian Molefe as finance minister as expected?
RM: He was most probably advised against this as this would be a battle he could not win. If he appointed Molefe, there would be a chance that he’d be compromised immediately by being taken to court based on the state capture report. With Gigaba the objections would be only subjective.
There was a lot of speculation that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would get a Cabinet position. Why didn’t this happen?
RM: It would be to give her space to campaign in the ANC on her own time. She can now have conversations with the branches and speak at churches on Sundays, and deal with people on the ground. We can expect to see her on the ground in the coming months. It also leaves her out of the contestation around the reshuffle and uncompromised in that sense.Faith Muthambi is one of Zuma's closest allies. Why was she moved from the ministry of communications?
RM: Faith is a loyalist, but she's a liability. Her tenure as minister of communications has been quite disastrous, even though it was a tough portfolio to manage from the start. Ayanda Dlodlo is not outright compromised yet, and Zuma probably wants someone that can take charge of the ministry. The same with Joemat-Pettersson. While she's done her job, he needs someone stronger in the energy ministry going forward if he wants to push through the nuclear programme.
Is there significance in the timing of the reshuffle?
RM: It’s a very big deal. Zuma did a lot of work with this reshuffle, it was not the amateur work we saw when Nhlanhla Nene was fired. He was much more diligent. It also has implications for Treasury court case against the Guptas, and we now no longer have a treasury that would want to contest that they do not want to interfere with how the banks are run. At the very least, the case will be delayed as all other interest groups will have to establish their locus standi and regroup on how they will contest the matter.
The DA has indicated it will table a motion of no confidence in Zuma in Parliament. What are the chances of it succeeding?
RM: There is a better chance of it succeeding now than the previous time, but the DA will need to acknowledge and capitalise on the mutiny culture in the ANC. They will have to do some political work now and lobby ANC MPs to help. If they continue to insult ANC MPs, it will not succeed.