Cape Town — Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he cannot do anything to stop President Jacob Zuma from removing him from his position in government if he wished to do so.
This comes after media reports that Ramaphosa would be next to be axed by Zuma, following Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Ramaphosa faced a grilling in the National Assembly on Thursday during a question and answer session, as MPs lobbed question after question at him about his future.
The question was meant to be about corruption in state-owned enterprises, but opposition MPs couldn’t resist putting Ramaphosa on the spot following the reports of his possible removal.
EFF’s Floyd Shivambu sneaked in a question on comments made by former union leader James Molatsi, who said Ramaphosa is next in line to face the chop, and could happen as soon as yesterday.
Molatsi is also part of Ramaphosa’s campaign for ANC president.
“When I was appointed deputy president, I accepted it, and it is the president’s prerogative to appoint or remove anyone to the Executive,” Ramaphosa answered on Thursday.
“If the decision is to remove me, I will accept that as a decision that would have been taken by the president, and I will continue serving the people of South Africa in one shape or another. That’s all I can say on the matter.”
DA MPs continued to heckle Ramaphosa as he spoke shouting “Tomorrow!”
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe asked what Ramaphosa’s impending removal could mean for instability in the economy and country.
“I cannot comment on it, because I’m not the one who decides on these matters. If I am removed, it will be at the pleasure of the president.
“And whatever its impact will be, will be analysed by a whole number of people.”
Cabinet members and the public were not privy to Zuma’s reasons either, he said.
DA MP Natasha Mazzone then asked if it was time to remove Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown from her post too, given the current inquiry into multiple state-owned enterprises under her purview.
“Minister Brown, like me, is appointed at the pleasure of the president. I am appointed, and so is she. If I were to be fired, it will be at the pleasure of the president.
“And similarly, anything that will happen to Minister Brown, will be up to the president. It’s not for me to say who should be appointed, who should be fired.”
He then suggested the opposition pose the question to the one who “does all these firings”.
At this the opposition erupted into laughter.
In a comedic moment afterwards, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete welcomed a group of learners from an all-girls high school to the chamber to observe proceedings.
Before moving on to the next question, Ramaphosa chirped, “I must apologise to the girls, that they have been invited on a day where I am being grilled.”
The House laughed again and Ramaphosa moved on to the next question.
He did not refer to Zuma by name throughout his responses. — Sapa