News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
8 Mar 2017
6:02 am

‘Dlamini is in danger’

Yadhana Jadoo

Analysts say the minister may not be as bulletproof as she thinks, as Zuma may reshuffle her despite her absolute loyalty to him.

African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) President Bathabile Dlamini during the national Women's Day celebrations at the Union Buildings on August 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. August 09, 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the historic 1956 Women's March on the Union Buildings against the discriminatory pass laws. Picture: Gallo Images

Amid rumours of President Jacob Zuma’s looming Cabinet reshuffle, it remains to be seen whether Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini remains in her position.

According to political analysts Dlamini sits comfortably in the Zuma camp within the factions of the ruling ANC, and it is therefore unlikely that she faces any danger of losing her portfolio.

Dlamini faced a grilling yesterday morning in front of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) – where she answered questions by MPs on the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the payment of millions of social grants come April 1.

According to analyst Andre Duvenage, Dlamini’s behaviour towards Scopa had shown that “she isn’t control of her portfolio”.

“She was ducking and diving and was largely incoherent. She clearly doesn’t know how to manage the situation and present herself.”

He added that, with Dlamini suffering a backlash over the grants predicament, there “was a lot of ground for getting rid of her amid rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle”.

“If there is merit involved, then she cannot be accommodated as a minister in that portfolio.”

Dlamini, he said, was a “critical link in Jacob Zuma’s survival attempt”, however.

“The Zuma camp is doing their utmost to keep him there. Dlamini has a very good position in this process, as president of the women’s league and so forth.

“But there is no place for her and the way she dealt with this matter – there are no excuses for this.

“She’s at the centre of a political war within the ANC. And she is paying for it in parliament – the factions are there too. Parliament is not positive about her.”

Analyst Ralph Mathekga was of the view that if Dlamini found herself in danger, it wouldn’t be due to the Sassa issue.

“The reshuffle would be a Cabinet issue. There is no way it would go ahead.

“She knows she is safe in the ANC and with Scopa … I mean [Scopa chairperson and African People’s Convention leader] Themba Godi is a surrogate of the ANC. She knows they can be dealt with,” he charged.

“She is in Jacob Zuma’s corner, so anyone with common sense will have to be careful on how to deal with her, because she is much higher politically.”

Analyst Daniel Silke added that a Cabinet reshuffle would include a number of individuals, and that if Dlamini was shifted it would be done within the broader act of moving others.

“She may well be, given the public outcry, shifted to a lesser portfolio. This will allow for them (the ANC) not to be hurt, as the reshuffle will balance one faction and the other. She may find herself out of this post.

He added that the grants system was the “real success story of the ANC”, and when anything impeded those grants, it cut right to the heart of what the ruling party stands for and their support base, which helps them to stand.

“She is danger.”