The recall on Monday of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, from a US investment trip by President Jacob Zuma is a clear sign of a manager who is “completely reckless”, according to political analyst Professor Andre Duvenhage.
Duvenhage told The Citizen on Monday the instruction for both ministers to return to the country “immediately” also meant he would do anything to survive.
“I think a Cabinet reshuffle is also imminent and either or both Gordhan and Jonas will be affected,” he said.
But the finance minister was influential and it would not be easy to remove him from his post.
“Zuma also showed the extent he and his cronies will go to survive and to undermine those who are opposing them.
“The instruction for the ministers to come back home was also an intention to embarrass them and to create an unnecessary negative light around them.”
Duvenhage said Zuma was already positioning himself for the coming ANC policy conference as well as the elective conference late this year.
“Brian Molefe going to parliament and Hlaudi Motsoeneng being honoured at an event in the Free State this past weekend means we can expect Zuma loyalists to be accommodated after the reshuffle, because he will make sure that he brings even closer people who support his survival,” Duvenhage added.
Another political analyst, Elvis Masoga, said: “Imagine a president ordering his soldiers to return from a battlefield.
“It is clear, indisputable proof that the contradictions between the Presidency and Treasury have escalated into full-blown warfare because it is unheard of in a democratic state for a president to recall ministers from a business trip.
“Such a move can only happen in the event of an urgent emergency.”
Masoga said Zuma seemed to be preferring Middle East countries as trade partners while Treasury remained pragmatic due to the fact that the global economy was based on dollar determinations.
He said although a Cabinet reshuffle cannot be ruled out, Zuma could not easily remove Gordhan from his post, stressing that if that were to happen, there would be massive political and economical ramifications.
“The only thing Zuma can do at this stage is to continue intimidating the finance minister to a point where he becomes demoralised and resigns,” Masoga said.
Congress of the People (Cope) said in a statement: “Zuma … stooped very low, once again. He hates the Treasury team with a passion and can no longer hide it. Zuma is hideously vindictive.”
DA MP David Maynier said Zuma must provide a public explanation on his decision.
“The instruction to cancel the road show without explanation is so bizarre that it appears, at best, calculated to humiliate the minister or, at worst, to suggest that the minister is about to be fired in a Cabinet reshuffle,” he said.