Shuffle kerfuffle: Why Zuma sentenced Ndebele to prisons

Zuma announced his third Cabinet reshuffle in Pretoria on Tuesday, where he also sacked police commissioner Bheki Cele in a consolidation of his power in government ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung.
 
Cele was found to be unfit for office by a board of enquiry chaired Judge Jake Moloi, which also recommended his removal in terms of SAPS Act 68 of 1995. He has been replaced with Mangwashi “Riah” Phiyega, former group executive at Absa and chair of the presidency’s state-owned enterprises review committee.
 
In the Cabinet reshuffle, meanwhile, Lindiwe Sisulu was notably “demoted” from the defence ministry to the public services and administration portfolio, replaced by Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
 
But it was Zuma’s removal of Sibusiso Ndebele from the transport ministry to correctional services, replacing him with Ben Martins, that raised eyebrows throughout government and the ANC.
 
Whispers about a reshuffle started making the rounds soon after the death of former minister of public service and administration Roy Padayachie, the transfer of Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the former deputy minister of public works,  to the ministry of women, children and persons with disability, and the resignation earlier this year of former deputy minister of economic development Enoch Godongwana.
 
Godongwana resigned from economic development in January in the face of growing outrage in government circles about his involvement in a company that allegedly defrauded clothing factory workers of R100-million of their pension fund money.
 
Ndebele switches lanes
Although Ndebele’s portfolio swap sent ripples through the ruling party on Tuesday, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. In recent months it had been rumoured that Ndebele was in Zuma’s firing line due to his handling of the South African National Roads Agency Limited debacle, which culminated in an interdict against the controversial e-tolling project, and the resignation (and later withdrawal of the resignation) of Sanral’s chief executive, Nazir Alli.
 
Ndebele was not the architect of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, but it has met with a number of delays under his watch, contributing to the downgrading of Sanral by credit ratings agencies.
 
A large portion of the rollout of the GFIP happened under Jeff Radebe, during his tenure in the transport ministry.
 
The Cabinet has also collectively claimed responsibility for the programme and committed to its roll out.
 
While the GFIP has been declared a collective Cabinet issue, the increased public fury over the implementation of e-tolling, led by alliance partner Cosatu, has made the implementation of the scheme politically unpalatable in the run-up to Mangaung, Free State.
 
Ndebele is believed to have recognised this early on.
 
But when it became apparent that the scheme could not be reversed, given the commitments already entered into by Sanral and national government, he is alleged to have begun “dragging his feet” in implementing the programme.
 
Ndebele did sanction the delay in e-tolling announced in February, which saw the initial moves towards the downgrading of Sanral by ratings agency Moody’s.
 
When an urgent interdict to delay e-tolling was brought to court by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in April, Ndebele was understood to have been the ANC’s key representative in concurrent talks with Cosatu about delaying the project.
 
Surprises all round
While his handling of the Sanral debacle may have annoyed the presidency, Ndebele’s move out of transport – a field in which he has a great deal of experience and specialist knowledge – took ruling party members and  government officials by surprise on Tuesday.
 
“Why move him out of a portfolio in which his skills and experience are unrivalled, at least at the level of political appointments?” said one source. “And why replace him with someone so inexperienced?”
 
Another surprise appointment was that of ANC Youth League NEC member and member of Parliament, Mduduzi Manana, as deputy minister of higher education.
 
Manana is the son of Mpumalanga safety, security and liaison MEC Sibongile Manana.
 
At 28, he is the youngest deputy minister since 1994.
 
Several youth league leaders told the M&G that he was rewarded for speaking out against suspended ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa’s statement that the youth league would support Julius Malema as president until 2014.
 
Youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola later accused Manana of ill-discipline.
 
The deputy minister of communications Stella Ndabeni also received a ministerial post in Zuma’s administration after falling out with Malema.
 
The new ministerial appointments:
Public Service and Administration: Lindiwe Sisulu
Defence: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Transport: Ben Martins
Correctional Services: Sibusiso Ndebele
 
The new deputy ministers:
Transport: Sindisiwe Chikunga
Public Enterprises: Gratitude Magwanishe
Public Works: Jeremy Cronin
Economic Development: Hlengiwe Mkhize
Higher Education: Mduduzi Manana
Charles Molele
Guest Author
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.
Advertisting

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.