President Cyril Ramaphosa has hinted that he is looking into reshuffling his Cabinet following the recent deadly unrest that engulfed parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
There have been growing calls from several quarters of society – including opposition parties – for Ramaphosa to fire some of his ministers after contradictory messages from security cluster ministers about the civil unrest.
Speaking on the sidelines of his visit to Rabasotho Community Centre in Tembisa, Ramaphosa said the issue around reshuffling Cabinet was receiving attention.
Ramaphosa said: “The issue of reconfiguring Cabinet is an ongoing consideration by any president. You look at how do you deploy the people who you’re working with and how you place those people to execute various tasks.
“So it is an ongoing process of evaluation and all that. It’s not something that we would say ‘it’s a process that is outlandish’. We continue to look at it.”
The president was in the area to monitor the roll-out of government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Pressed further by journalists to clarify his stance on the Cabinet reshuffle, Ramaphosa insisted that evaluating the performance of his executive team was an ongoing process.
“As I said, the process of people who are deployed to work with any leader even in a Cabinet situation, it’s a process that you evaluate. It’s best to leave it there and it’s a process one does, as one evaluates everything and everyone that you work with.”
Ramaphosa has previously admitted that the “failed insurrection”, that claimed the lives of more than 300 people and caused economic damage running into billions, could have been handled better by his government.
State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Police Minister Bheki Cele have recently been publicly at odds over whether the South African Police Service was provided with intelligence reports that could preempt the violence.
Dlodlo insisted that the police had the information, but Cele has disputed this.
To add to this, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula contradicted Ramaphosa’s characterisation of the unrest as an attempted insurrection before a parliamentary committee. But the minister later backtracked on the issue.
The unrest followed the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court. Zuma is serving a 15-month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KZN.
Digital Vibes tender scandal
Ramaphosa was also asked about the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) report into the controversial R150 million contract awarded to Digital Vibes by the national Department of Health.
The report reportedly implicates suspended Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who allegedly pressured senior officials in his department to appoint the company run by his close associates.
It has been almost a month since the president received the document, but he said he was still studying it and appealed to be given space.
“I have received the SIU report [and] there is still some finalisation of certain aspects which we are going to get to.
“So, I’m looking at it and I’m studying it. Allow me the time and the space to look at that,” he said.