Sonke Gender Justice denounces President Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle in the strongest terms possible

Sonke registers deep concern about the cabinet reshuffle announced by President Zuma just after midnight last night. We view this reshuffle, and especially the firing of Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas, as a direct attack on democracy and good governance in South Africa.

We see this cabinet reshuffle as a clear attempt by President Zuma and his backers to gain access to the state resources controlled by Treasury, something he and his supporters have shown to be their intention for many months.

Competent ministers have been fired because they have blocked this agenda and spoken out against corruption and cronyism. Incompetent ministers who have supported President Zuma but violated Constitutional Court orders or simply failed to perform their jobs remain in office.

This is the politics of corruption and cronyism – deeply undemocratic and an affront to the traditions and commitments celebrated just this week at Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral.

Money desperately needed for vital developmental projects and to deepen democracy and advance people’s fundamental rights has, over the last few years, increasingly been diverted into private pockets. We anticipate this will accelerate now that President Zuma has removed principled cabinet members who thwarted corruption and insisted on transparent governance. We know this will compromise vital state services, including programmes intended to address and prevent gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS, improve access to free quality education, and many, many others.

We join our many civil society partners in urging all South Africans to join protests being planned for this morning at 10am Church Square in Pretoria and 11am Parliament, in Cape Town.

We call on all principled members of parliament to sanction President Zuma.

We call on the leadership of the ANC to remove President Zuma from office.

We call on everyone who has South Africa’s best interests at heart to register their protest visibly, symbolically and loudly against President Zuma and his cabinet reshuffle.

For comment please contact:

Bafana Khumalo, Senior Strategic Advisor, Sonke Gender Justice, 082 578 4479,

Patrick Godana, Government and Media Manager, Sonke Gender Justice, 073 233 4560,