Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
IN AN unprecedented move, President Jacob Zuma yesterday publicly rebuked three members of his Cabinet.
Zuma criticised Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda for supporting suspended Transnet executive Siyabonga Gama.
He also criticised Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale for utterances he made during his visit to Thokoza hostel last week.
Sexwale was reported to have said hostel resi-dents "should leave their malumes at home".
He allegedly accused the hostel residents of "SMSing" their rural rela-tives to come to the city and join the housing queue - thereby making it difficult for the government to deal with the housing shortage in urban areas.
Yesterday Zuma implicitly accused Sexwale of perpetuating the apartheid-era migrant labour system.
"I don't know why people should not come and live with their families. I don't know why we should preach separation of families," Zuma told the media in Cape Town.
Zuma also rebuked Radebe and Nyanda for the manner in which they have handled Gama's case.
"The Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan is dealing with this matter.
"People must be cautious - I don't think it is helpful to debate it in public while it is being dealt with in the correct structures," Zuma said.
Both Radebe and Nyanda have said that Gama's suspension was part of a move to block him from becoming Transnet's next chief executive.
Nyanda further said Gama was being persecuted just like Zuma before he became both the president of the ANC and of the country.
Zuma did not mention Radebe or Nyanda by name.
But when asked if he was scolding his ministers, Zuma said "whoever has made a statement, it is unfortunate".
Zuma further said that the ANC as a party did not support Gama and Hogan had the prerogative to appoint Transnet's chief executive.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said Zuma's public rebuke of his ministers was an indication that he was "trying to assert himself".
Fikeni also said that Zuma's response was a clear indication that he was sensitive to the challenges faced by those who had to migrate from undeveloped rural areas in search of a better livelihood in the urban areas.
Fikeni said the ANC and its allies had handled the Gama case "clumsily because if the party did not get its way it would be difficult to climb down".
Other observers have insinuated that in rebuking Sexwale, Zuma was "nipping in the bud" attempts by those who have accumulated wealth during former president Thabo Mbeki's era to control the levers of government.
Fikeni said this was speculative, but conceded that there was a "political entrepreneurial class" within the ANC that could sway the balance of forces in favour of business - turning government into a business management arm.
Last week the SACP warned of the emergence of a "new tendency" whereby previously accumulated BEE capital was now used to try to win influence both in the ANC and the government.