Blade Nzimande will not fall - analysts

2015-10-26 13:57
Blade Nzimande. (File, City Press)

Blade Nzimande. (File, City Press)

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Cape Town - Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande will not fall. But his image and political standing have been dented by the ongoing student protests, an expert said on Monday.

Political analyst Daniel Silke told News24 that the minister's standing had been weakened, and so had that of the South African Communist Party, of which he is the general secretary.

Silke said although there might be some in the ruling party who had been pleased at Nzimande being embarrassed by the violent student protests that have swept the country, he would not lose his Cabinet post - at least not yet.

"We really have very little precedent in SA for Cabinet ministers to be replaced following protests. We might yet see a Cabinet reshuffle, but students themselves would have to be much more vocal on his position if it was to have any effect on the Cabinet. For the moment, he will survive."

Silke said if students merely reverted to calling for free education and were not focusing too much on Nzimande, then he would not be under too much scrutiny. He said he did not foresee a replacement.

Potential votes

Eastern Cape political analyst Dr Joleen Steyn-Kotze agreed. She said as a result of Nzimande's handling of the protests, however, youth would now no longer be willing to take empty promises at face value, which would affect the ruling party at the polls.

"He downplayed the strength of the protests. He made inappropriate responses about students. The question is not whether he will survive, but how the future of the ANC at the polls will be affected by the protests.

"Educated youth have found they can embark on protests to hold government accountable," Steyn-Kotze said.

Silke said students needed a minister who could understand their grievances and empathise with them. He said at the moment, they did not have that as Cabinet ministers were too distanced from the people.

The analysts' views were echoed by opposition parties, who felt that Nzimande was too politically connected to be removed just yet.

On Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced that university fees for next year would not be increased, after countrywide protests by students which at times turned violent.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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