Will Zuma fire Bathabile?

The future of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is now in the hands of President Jacob Zuma after she was skewered by the Constitutional Court for “absolute incompetence”.

For a while Zuma has defended her, saying there was no crisis as grants were going to be paid.

But yesterday, Zuma apologised for the extreme anxiety caused by the uncertainty over the payment of the grants.

Government officials sympathetic to Zuma said he was also disappointed by the inability of minister in the presidency for monitoring and evaluation, Jeff Radebe, to pick up on the crisis in its early stages. Radebe has insisted that he acted.

They said Zuma considered the department of planning, monitoring and evaluation a flagship department, hence its budget was increased while most other departments had theirs cut.

“Government is supposed to have an early warning system, but it is not working,” said one senior official.

At least one analyst believes Zuma will not fire Dlamini.

KwaZulu-Natal-based political analyst Xolani Dube said Zuma would not fire Dlamini because he needed support from the ANC Women’s League when the party elects his successor in December.

“But in this case, it is not his battle that he is fighting, but he is doing it on behalf of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.”

Zuma is widely expected to reshuffle his Cabinet in the near future.

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