“The way the decision was apparently taken and the lack of consultation also shows a marginalisation of the ANC by the President. As stalwarts we cannot allow the ANC to become marginal to the affairs of the country‚” stalwart Mongane Serote said in a statement on Friday morning.
He said the stalwarts were in consultation and would give a more measured response to the reshuffle‚ which saw Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas axed from the Finance Ministry‚ after months of speculation.
Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba‚ formerly the Minister of Home Affairs‚ and Fikile Mbalula was made Minister of Police.
Zuma also fired Tina Joemat-Petterson and replaced her with ANC MP Mmamoloko Nkhensani Kubayi as energy minister.
The group said that the disastrous consequences for the rand were not to be viewed lightly.
“This is not about so-called white monopoly capital; the decline in the rand affects the value of every worker’s pension and can only negatively impact on the most vulnerable of our society‚ due to its effect on the prices of basic goods.
“It also means our ability to invest in our children’s future becomes more expensive through the increases in the cost of government borrowing. Anyone who cares about our economy must express concern.”
The reshuffle followed the recall of a Treasury team from an international road show in London earlier this week.
Serote questioned the qualifications of some of Zuma’s newly appointed ministers and said appointments should be guided by performance targets.
“Ministers must be appointed because their skills are aligned to the needs of the departments they head. Decisions must be made on merit and not self-interest‚ especially within a government that is of the ANC‚ with its long history of collective responsibility and consultation.
“There are serious question marks over the criteria used for this reshuffle. There appears to be no alignment in the reshuffle with the attainment of targets in the performance agreements between members of the Executive and the President.”
The stalwarts said they will not become involved in the ANC’s factional fights but will fight to preserve the party’s legacy.
“As elders of the movement‚ whilst we are aware there will be very real efforts to derail an honest introspection and the planned national consultative conference‚ we will continue to work openly to ensure the legacy of the ANC is not lost.”
The stalwarts are a group of 101 veterans who last year released a document called For the Sake of our Future‚ which urged Zuma to resign and for the ANC to end factionalism. The group also called for a national consultative conference to address the party’s issues.