Cape Town - The ANC Youth League in the Western Cape has welcomed the axing of SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande in President Jacob Zuma's latest Cabinet reshuffle.The Youth League in the Western Cape welcomed the reshuffle as a whole on Tuesday evening. They also said that Nzimande's replacement in the higher education portfolio was "long overdue"."It has been clear for some time that he was distracted by the SACP's debate on whether it should participate in the 2019 general election from driving the ANC’s agenda of free higher education," said provincial secretary Andile Mbali. "Comrade Blade is now released to canvass for 2019." READ: Nzimande's removal 'long overdue' - Limpopo ANCYLMbali said that Buti Manamela's appointment as deputy minister of higher education was "recognition of his commitment to advance the causes of young people"."It is also yet another indication that a younger crop of leaders are being given greater responsibility in the state. We call on him and the new minister, comrade Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, to address the looming crisis of fees at institutions of higher learning."They also commended Zuma's decision to retain Western Cape NEC member Lynne Brown, who has endured a torrid year as minister of public enterprises.The portfolio committee on public enterprises is currently probing three state-owned enterprises, including Eskom, over allegations of state capture."She has been the target of a relentless attack by many in the media, with no proof of wrongdoing on her part," they claimed. Factional battles"This is a vote of confidence in comrade Brown's ability to provide leadership to a difficult portfolio and to drive the agenda of radical socio-economic transformation."The Youth League in the Western Cape has endured its own share of factional battles this year, as part of a larger divide in the ANC Western Cape's leadership.The province is the second smallest, in terms of branches, for the party, but that hasn't stopped provincial executive members warring with the leaders of the Cape Town (Dullah Omar) region over leadership.The province has served as a proxy for the larger presidential succession debate at national level.It is understood that the majority in the province's PEC want Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma as ANC president, while the metro and Youth League support Zuma's preferred choice, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.A group of "Youth League activists" broke ranks from Mbali and chairperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed a month ago, saying the "unanimous" support for Dlamini-Zuma was not correct, and they had been misrepresented.Sayed dismissed those allegations, saying it did not come from a recognised ANC structure, and that the national ANCYL has already pledged its support publicly for the former AU Commission chair.