Zuma does not need to consult before reshuffling his cabinet - Mbete

2017-04-02 22:14
Baleka Mbete

Baleka Mbete

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Johannesburg – National assembly speaker, Baleka Mbete, on Sunday said President Jacob Zuma does not need to consult anyone if he wants to reshuffle his cabinet.

“There is no ANC process that requires the president to come and have a conference with us about reshuffles…it’s not like there is a rule that obliges him to come and have a discussion about his thinking.

“The president called me on Thursday and told me what was going to be announced, but not the detail,” Mbete said earlier on Sunday.

She was briefing the media after cutting short her work visit to Bangladesh to address requests she received to urgently convene a sitting to process yet another proposal for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

"The Court was, among others, asked to compel Parliament to urgently schedule a motion of no confidence in the president. No finding was made against the speaker in respect of the relief sought by the official opposition." She was referring to President Jacob Zuma's much anticipated cabinet reshuffle which saw the axing of Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

Mbete said she would begin a process of consultation contemplated in the rules, in consideration of the request submitted.

On the process, Mbete said the constitution clearly stipulated what should happen.

“The constitution in section 102:2 says that the president and the rest of the cabinet will have to resign.  And in section 86, the constitution provides that when there is a vacancy in the office of the president, the Chief Justice must set the date and time for the election of a new president and that must happen within 30 days.

“A secret ballot is not part of what we do. It’s not provided in the rules. So we simply just don’t do secret ballots, until one day maybe there is enough pressure from the MPs themselves and the rules are changed, then we will do that. When the rule allows that, but right now, we have no basis for secret ballot,” when asked about the voting process.   


On the reshuffle she said she was present on Monday where a bilateral meeting took place with the SACP.

“The president actually did brief that meeting about concerns relating to the treasury and the actual issues relating to the trip abroad. I was there when that briefing was first given by the president.

“He shared with us not just the specific report from intelligence relating to that actual visit, but some historic background. That I appreciated. We were all happy that he took (us) into (his) confidence.”

On members of the top six who had openly criticised Zuma, she said, “The fact that there have been differences expressed is not something for us to be surprised about because we allow people in the ANC to differ and express their differences, although we normally have it done such that it’s not everybody having a free for all, it’s not every leader for themselves.

“We have always prevailed on our cadres that what is expected is that the one with the specific responsibility to speak on behalf of the organisation, should do that. The one thing we’ve learnt in the past is that our people always express disquiet and unhappiness about us differing in public.”

She said now that people had aired their unhappiness in public, “we will now come back together and bring together our voice so we can address the public in a manner that will reassure them.”

“The fact that we can’t satisfy everybody all the time is a different matter.”

She said she appreciated the fact that the Zuma “took us into (his) confidence on a range of matters in the experience of his work with these particular ministers… I will talk when I have been favoured myself, having participated together with the leaders of the ANC that would be in the constitutional structures that would meet tomorrow. Then I can have a basis on which I can have a better understanding of details, and what is going on because I can’t comment on things that happened in my absence.

No question of agreeing

“Yes, members of the top six have shared views about what was going on including what happened that we’re all speaking like that.  When I have a full appreciation of that, maybe I will comment.

“We have a way and we have agreed to do things. We have a culture, we have meetings. We are brutally frank when we are in those meetings, but there are things... just don’t do but I will express myself in the ANC meeting,” she said.   

On the intelligence report, she said “The president talked about it.  We did not see it, we did not discuss it. So there was no question of agreeing or not agreeing on it.  Or approving or not approving of it.  It was part of a package of issues that the president touched on as a background.

“I’m saying we appreciated the fact that he took us into (his) confidence as a head of state who deals with a range of issues that are very complex.  Many of which no head of state ever discusses with anybody.

“There is no ANC process that requires the president to come and have a conference with us about reshuffles.  We don’t do that by the always comes to the officials [sic] but it’s not like there is a rule that obliges him to come and have a discussion about his thinking,” said Mbete.


Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  baleka mbete

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