Suspended Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has resigned ahead of a drastic Cabinet reshuffle to be announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa this evening.
The reshuffle announcement was confirmed by the Presidency this afternoon
A highly placed ANC source said Mkhize met Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Thursday morning where he was told to step down voluntarily so as to avoid being fired.
“It was clear that he was not going to survive the Cabinet reshuffle. It’s good that he resigned of his own volition because the axe was hanging over his head anyway,” said a senior ANC national executive committee member.
Ramaphosa is expected to announce a Cabinet reshuffle tonight amid pressure to fire Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
Mkhize was put on voluntary leave following the Digital Vibes multi-million rand tender scandal while Mapisa-Nqakula was fingered for publicly disagreeing with Ramaphosa about whether there was an insurrection.
Dlodlo claimed the police were informed earlier about the possible outbreak but failed to act on it. But Police Minister Bheki Cele vehemently denied such information was sent out.
Some said the two ministers could be shifted to less strategic portfolios. This was seen as an opportunity for Ramaphosa to bring in people that would help him bring the necessary economic reforms and ensure a reliable state security set up.
There was rumour that ANC head of economic development subcommittee Enoch Godongwana, an ally to Ramaphosa, was likely to be appointed as the new Finance Minister to replace Mboweni who was likely to be moved to another portfolio.
But when approached for comment last night, Godongwana said he “heard the rumours but I have not been informed or approached about it. So I don’t know,” he said.
If Godongwana was appointed, it wouldn’t come as a surprise as he had served as first economic affairs and later finance MEC in the Eastern Cape under the late Premier Makhenkesi Stofile. For years, Godongwana, who was born in Cala in the Eastern Cape was secretary-general of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
He is one of the longest serving members of the ANC NEC and was believed to be influential in driving the economic direction of the Ramaphosa-led ANC.
Godongwana was a vehement opponent of the position espoused by the party’s Radical Economic Transformation forces for the SA Reserve Bank to be nationalised.
He briefly served as Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises under former President Jacob Zuma but was currently board chair of the Southern African Development Bank.