Some members of Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet might have cheered while his predecessor Kgalema Motlanthe read the late Ahmed Kathrada’s letter calling for his resignation, but there is at least one minister whose faith in Zuma seems unfaltering.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi came out to bat for Zuma in the face of the backlash after he recalled Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas from their overseas trip to woo investors. She attacked the media and accused the banks, markets and rating agencies of driving a regime change agenda.
This happend at a time when Zuma should be reconsidering Muthambi’s continuance as communications minister after the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board made damning findings against her.
Muthambi’s counter-narrative came in the form of a column that appeared under her name in Daily Maverick and News24.
“One would have thought that President Jacob Zuma has done something wrong in summoning the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan,” reads the column.
“Overlooked in this hysteria is the obvious: all ministers serve at the pleasure and behest of the president. This is a constitutional prerogative. And President Zuma’s action in summoning any minister falls within the realm of his constitutional role and powers.”
Muthambi wrote it must have been difficult for the media to swallow their created “myth” that Zuma is a lame duck president being blown out of the water when Zuma called Gordhan back.
“In one fell swoop their investment in projecting an image of powerless president went up in smoke.
Indeed, our sovereignty and our freedom mean nothing if a democratically elected president, acting within powers vested in him by the Constitution, can be whipped into line by foreign entities.
“The fluctuation of the rand has become very useful tool in corralling government into a particular behaviour.
Manipulation of the rand has become an additional arsenal used by those invested in the regime change agenda. It is an insult to freedom and a threat to our constitutional dispensation.”
Shortly after Zuma called Gordhan back, he announced the reconstituted inter-ministerial committee on information and publicity, which he will chair with Muthambi’s assistance.
Muthambi has indicated that she will take the ad hoc committee’s report on review, and since its adoption in the National Assembly, she has at least on two occasions attended events with Zuma while she should have appeared in Parliament.
Zuma also appointed her as acting minister of justice.
In 2015 Muthambi was criticised from within the ANC because she took a contradictory policy to that of the ANC on the encryption matter and the digital migration deadline was missed under her stewardship.
Last year there was also impatience with her from within her own party due to her continued support for the controversial, former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.