Zuma draws praise for Cabinet spring cleaning

Political parties on Monday welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s decision to axe Cabinet members Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and Sicelo Shiceka.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille also applauded Zuma’s announcement that national police commissioner Bheki Cele was suspended with immediate effect.

“This announcement is better late than never,” she said in a statement.

Zuma announced in Pretoria that Mahlangu-Nkabinde would be replaced as public works minister, and Shiceka as traditional affairs and cooperative governance minister.

Zuma’s government had been beset by controversy for several months.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had urged Zuma to take strong action against those involved in leases for police office space, as well as Shiceka for his abuse of public money.

Zille said: “We applaud the president for reaffirming his government’s commitment to the role of the public protector and other Chapter Nine institutions.”

The ANC said the Cabinet reshuffle would contribute significantly to strengthening government performance and capacity.

“In this regard, the ANC would [like] to praise and equally endorse the president’s action and decisiveness,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

The ANC also welcomed Zuma’s announcement that Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Willie Seriti would head the new commission of inquiry into the arms deal.

The IFP, ANCYL, SACP and National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) applauded Zuma on his decision to reshuffle the Cabinet.

“It is our hope therefore, that today signals a new beginning in which President Zuma will maintain his leadership role, in holding accountable those who underperform or fail our nation,” Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said.

While Nehawu congratulated Zuma on his “firm and decisive action”, it felt he had taken too long to act.—Sapa

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