Drama as axe falls for top ANC cadres

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 7, 2024


Durban — The ANC’s dramatic fall from the country’s political throne will lead to some senior leaders, including Police Minister Bheki Cele and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, losing their government Cabinet posts.

The names of both these senior ANC leaders from KwaZulu-Natal do not appear on the list of people going to the 400-seater National Assembly.

As their future looks bleak, the duo attended the ANC’s special National Executive Committee (NEC), its highest structure, between conferences on Thursday at the Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni.

The meeting, addressed by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, deliberated on the party’s possible coalition partner after losing its outright majority, slipping from the 57% it garnered in 2019 to the 40.1% the party managed last week.

The meeting also addressed the party’s possible premier candidate and its deployees to the 400-seater National Assembly, where the ANC will also be sending 159, a drop from 230.

All parties vying for the country’s government were requested by law to submit their candidate lists, which MPs are drawn from depending on the seats the party won.

Cele, a strong backer of Ramaphosa, was appointed as Minister of Police in 2018. Before that, he served as police commissioner from 2009 to 2011.

Minister Zulu was a known backer of former president Jacob Zuma, but switched loyalty to Ramaphosa when he won the ANC conference in 2017.

Zulu and Cele could not be reached for comment.

The list of people going to Parliament was handed to Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who will preside over their swearing-in as MPs for the next five years until the next elections.

Other senior party leaders who failed to make the cut as MPs are Naledi Pandor, long-serving, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation; Defence Minister Thandi Modise, who was at position 83; Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet, who was at position 85; and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.

Among the about 14 ministers making a return to Parliament is Electricity Minister Kgosientso Ramokgopa, as a directly elected public representative.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi will return to Parliament on the ticket of the national list. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Small Business Development Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, and Health Minister Joe Phaahla will get to Parliament via the regional lists.

Former health minister Zweli Mkhize, along with Deputy Health Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo, appear on the regional list for KwaZulu-Natal, as does former Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina for the Gauteng regional list, and former premier Stan Mathabatha on the Limpopo list.

The candidate lists also show several deputy ministers will not make a comeback to Parliament. They include Cogta Deputy Minister Parks Tau, who missed the cut at position 74; Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Obed Bapela; Correctional Services Deputy Minister Pathekile Holomisa; Defence’s Thabang Makwetla; Small Business Development’s Dipuo Peters; and former Public Enterprises Minister Phumulo Masualle.

The committee chairpersons that have not made the cut include defence portfolio committee chairperson Cyril Xaba, justice and correctional services’ Bulelani Magwanishe, Section 194 inquiry chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi, joint standing committee on intelligence’s Jerome Maake, and higher education’s Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, as well as chairpersons of select committees in the NCOP China Dodovu, Dikeledi Mahlangu and Zolani Mkiva.

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool did not make a comeback to Parliament after he missed the cut at position 75.

Cedric Frolick, who was cleared by a parliamentary investigation, made it onto the Eastern Cape regional list.

The future of Zizi Kodwa, who is at position 25, hangs in the balance. Kodwa has stepped aside amid his corruption charges over a R1.7 million bribe claim.

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