Talk of cabinet reshuffle ‘unfair’

2010-10-25 07:25

Government yesterday denied media reports that key cabinet members would be reshuffled or replaced, asking that they be afforded the necessary respect and space to work.

Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko said: “We wish to emphasise that any change to the composition of the executive is the prerogative of the president of the republic. Only the president knows whether or not there will be a reshuffle, what form it will take, if there is one, when it will happen, if it is to happen and other details.”

The Weekend Argus newspaper reported yesterday that Zuma was set to make several “possible key changes” to his cabinet, which was holding a special meeting today on a new economic growth strategy.

One possible change was the departure of minister in the presidency for planning, Trevor Manuel, who may take up a senior position either at the World Bank or in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Another was the replacement of state security minister Siyabonga Cwele, whose wife, Cheryl, is on trial on drug trafficking charges, with defence and military veterans minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Deputy arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile was set for a full cabinet post, possibly replacing arts and culture minister Lulu Xingwana.

The newspaper reported that deputy police minister Fikile Mbalula was set to take up a full cabinet post as a reward for leading the campaign that saw Zuma elected ANC president in 2007.

Other ministers in precarious positions included correctional services minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqaku, water and environmental affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica and mining minister Susan Shabangu.

Minister in the presidency, Collins Chabane, has been mum on reports that President Jacob Zuma is set to reshuffle his cabinet.

Chabane told journalists at a press conference in Pretoria that ministers were continuing to do their work as usual and that the question on a reshuffle was “unfair”.

“The question is unfair,” Chabane said. “We are used to it. Rumours about a cabinet reshuffle have been around since the cabinet was formed.

Ministers are doing their work as usual.”

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