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Zuma said to consider dropping Zwane if he wins vote

Aug 08 2017 14:17
Sam Mkokeli and Paul Vecchiatto, Bloomberg

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma is considering making changes to his Cabinet if he survives a motion of no confidence in Parliament, according to two officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) who have knowledge of the matter.

Minerals Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi and Mduduzi Manana, the deputy minister of Higher Education, may be removed from the administration, according to one of the people who asked not to be named because he isn’t an official spokesperson.

Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone or immediately respond to a voice message.

Zuma is facing the biggest threat to his eight-year presidency later on Tuesday when MPs vote in secret on whether to oust him as leader after a series of scandals and allegations of corruption relating to his relationship with the Gupta family.

READ: Zuma's fate rests with Parliament in secret vote

Removing Zwane, who has also been accused of being too close to the wealthy family, may placate some of Zuma’s critics amid a battle with mining companies over new empowerment regulations.

Zwane has clashed with mining companies and his own colleagues after he released a charter to govern the racial transformation of the industry. The industry is challenging the charter in court, arguing that there wasn’t enough consultation and that the rules to boost black participation will make mining unprofitable.

READ: Zwane calls out Chamber for blocking transformation - affidavit

Kubayi was announced as energy minister on March 31 in a wider Cabinet shakeup that saw Pravin Gordhan fired as finance minister and led to two ratings companies downgrading the nation’s debt to junk.

The energy department is at the centre of the Zuma administration’s plans to build nuclear reactors. Manana was filmed being involved in a night-club brawl in Johannesburg on August 5 in which a woman was allegedly assaulted.

No confidence

Zuma is set to survive an attempt to remove him, several ANC MPs said following a caucus meeting on Tuesday.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe warned the party’s legislators against voting Zuma out, according to people who attended the meeting. He criticised parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, who is also chairperson of the ANC, for ruling that the vote will be held in secret, the people said. Mantashe declined to comment when called by Bloomberg.

A group of ANC MPs, including ministers, came out of the meeting singing songs in support of Zuma ahead of the debate that’s due to start at 14:00 in Cape Town.

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