Ticket to walk for red-soled minister?

2013-02-10 10:00

Communications Minister Dina Pule is set to get the chop in a Cabinet reshuffle and replaced by rising star Lindiwe Zulu.

The names of Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale, Women’s Minister Lulu Xingwana and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi have also been mentioned as members likely to be moved by President Jacob Zuma – the fourth reshuffle in four years.

Three sources, two in the ANC and a government official, said Pule’s departure was imminent. Zulu, a former ambassador to Brazil and Zuma’s international affairs adviser, was recently elected to the ANC’s national working committee and chairs the party’s communications subcommittee.

Pule did not make it to the ANC’s national executive committee last year and her close association with former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa apparently means she is out of favour.

Her department has made poor progress on key projects like implementing government’s plans for Telkom and migration to digital terrestrial television, while the Public Protector is investigating allegations that Pule channelled millions in sponsorship money to her suspected boyfriend.

If Pule gets removed, she’ll be the third communications minister to go since Zuma became president in 2009, following Siphiwe Nyanda and the late Roy Padayachie.

A high-ranking official said Nxesi was frustrated by the fallout from Zuma’s Nkandla upgrade.

Sexwale has failed to deliver on projects like the R1?billion guarantee fund for low earners who don’t qualify for home loans. He also pushed for Zuma’s removal last year.

The reshuffle was expected to happen before this week’s lekgotla.

A member of Zuma’s executive said the lekgotla was postponed “because apparently Zuma wanted to reshuffle first and get the new ministers to attend”.

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