Mokonyane (Minister of Water and Sanitation) criticised those ministers who lost their jobs during Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle last Thursday, as well as those who have been calling for him to step down as President of the country and the ANC.
Last week Zuma appointed 10 new Ministers and 10 new Deputy Ministers. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were among those who were fired. The rand subsequently fell against the US dollar and ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded South Africa’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to speculative grade or “junk” status.
“When we go door-to-door, it’s President Jacob Zuma’s face on the ballot paper; it’s Zuma and the others. We are the others,” Mokonyane told the crowd gathered at the Germiston Stadium for the Future is Bright assembly.
“We have never hidden his face. South Africans voted for an ANC president knowing that he will be President of the country, but understanding that he is a deployee of the ANC. There is no confusion around that.”
Calls for Zuma to step down have come from many quarters. Cosatu, the SACP, ANC stalwarts, churches, civic organisations and opposition parties have expressed their lack of confidence in a Zuma-led government.
Three of the ANC’s top six officials questioned Zuma’s actions and asked who he’d consulted before making his decision.
Mokonyane questioned the credentials of Gordhan and his predecessor Trevor Manuel. She said Manuel, a qualified civil engineer who got his qualification from Cape Technikon, was not an economist, while Gordhan is a qualified pharmacist. “Gordhan was unknown, but Zuma deployed him,” she said.
Defending new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Mokonyane said that although his skin might be darker than Gordhan’s they are equal.
“Gigaba is also an ANC child. He might be darker than Gordhan, but he is exactly like him. He is a deployee of the ANC.”
She appealed to South Africans and the world to respect ANC processes and vowed to never give in to pressure from the West. The minister also reiterated that the country’s medium-term economic framework is still the same and the ANC is still in power.
Ratings agency Moody’s announced on Monday that it had put South Africa on watch for a possible ratings downgrade.
“What has caused this Moody’s group to rate us in two days? It’s about politics not political economy,” Mokonyane said.
Zuma had been expected to attend the meeting and Mokonyane apologised for his absence, saying he needed to participate in the ANC’s extended national working committee meeting.
Those who had applauded when Zuma was criticised at ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral on Wednesday were being dealt with, she said, adding: “Zuma will still be in charge till 2017 and in 2019 into the next elections.”