Top administrator Vusi Mavimbela has quit the office of President Jacob Zuma to take up a new post with the international relations and cooperation department (Dirco).
Although it is unclear what he will be doing at Dirco, there is speculation that he could either be posted abroad as an ambassador or appointed as the head of state protocol.
The post was left vacant in April this year when Kingsley Makhubela resigned to join the new tourism department as its director-general.
Mavimbela is one of more than 10 senior officials to have resigned from the president’s office during the past year.
Other top officials to have resigned since Zuma took office include chief operations officer Jessie Duarte, economic adviser Mandisi Mpahlwa, communications head Vusi Mona and Vincent Magwenya, who was the president’s spindoctor.
Presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said discussions between Zuma and Mavimbela were confidential while Saul Molobi, a Dirco spokesperson, could not be reached for comment on what Mavimbela would be doing at Dirco.
However, two senior officials said Zuma had fired Mavimbela while Kodwa said the parting had been amicable.
“There was nothing like a breakdown of relationship. The president wanted him to remain in the public service,” he said.
In July Zuma refused to disclose why he and Mavimbela wanted to part ways. In a terse statement Zuma’s office said Cassius Lubisi would take over from Mavimbela from November 1.
Sean Phillips, director-general in the office of Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, would act until Lubisi took over.
In a another statement Chabane said Zuma “wished” Mavimbela well.
“We wish him well in his new deployment and are happy that he is not lost to the public service and to the Presidency as he remains part of the family when he is at Dirco,” said Chabane.
Mavimbela returned to the public service last year. In the past he worked as former president Thabo Mbeki’s special adviser on intelligence and security from 1998 to 1999 and later as the director-general at the National Intelligence Agency.
He quit in 2004 to join the private sector and worked for Mvelaphanda Holdings until last year.