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Three more former ministers have followed Barbara Hogan in resigning as MPs after being axed from the executive two weeks ago in the biggest cabinet reshuffle since 1994.
The Sunday Independent has confirmed that former minister of Sports Makhenkesi Stofile, former Public Works minister Geoff Doidge and former Water and Environmental Affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica this week tendered their resignations to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu.
Some of them, however, have been asked by the ANC to put their resignations on hold pending their meeting with President Jacob Zuma tomorrow about their possible redeployment by the party.
Questions are being asked about their abrupt departures, given that they were happy to remain deployed in their previous roles.
Some ask whether the departures and their demotions were simply co-incidental or if the former ministers were fed up with how they were dumped.
Hogan, the former Public Enterprises minister, resigned “with immediate effect” as an MP after holding her seat since 1994.
It is understood that Hogan will not be seeking redeployment, preferring to spend quality time with her partner, ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada.
Sonjica told The Sunday Independent that she had also resigned as an MP after 16 years.
Asked whether she would make herself available for another post, she gave an emphatic no, saying she would first provide Parliament with her reasons for bowing out. Some say she was too
upset. The other three of the seven top politicians booted out to make way for fresh blood have so far been mum on their plans, including axed Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda.
If they do not resign their seats in the National Assembly by tomorrow, they stand to forfeit more generous pensions and other benefits due to former cabinet members and revert to MPs’ salaries.
Approached for comment, Nyanda repeatedly stated that he did not want to speak to The Sunday Independent, before putting the phone down.
Several sources confirmed that he was “very upset” at being fired by Zuma and having to leave the cabinet, which he only joined last year.
“But he can manage his anger, he is a good soldier, he is a cadre of the ANC,” one source commented.
The former Umkhonto weSizwe commander who went on to become chief of the SA National Defence Force drew more flak than most during his 17-month stint in the cabinet, including over his purchase of expensive official vehicles, his penchant for luxury hotels and his poor handling of the governance and financial crisis at the SABC.
Nyanda also faced allegations of a possible conflict of interest through state contracts awarded to his security company, but he made it clear that he resigned his directorships upon joining the cabinet.
This year’s Register of Members’ Interests indicates that Nyanda no longer holds any directorship in companies that he had been associated with since his retirement from the military in 2005, except in Thanda Vivi Construction which, according to the register, he was in the process of deregistering from.
He also declared that Abalozi (formerly General Nyanda Security) was still providing a driver for household and children’s transport.
However, the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) database shows that Nyanda is still active as a director in six companies – although Cipro may have neglected to update its database.
Those include Prime Regal Logistics and Projects CC, registered in July 2008; Khomani Protection Services CC registered in October 2008; Micromatica 27 (Pty) Ltd; Muntu Mutapa Holdings (Pty) Ltd; and Gen S Nyanda Consulting (Pty) Ltd.
Former Labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana and the former minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, did not respond to inquiries about their future plans.
Mayende-Sibiya, along with Nyanda and Stofile, are members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), which holds its last sitting for the year this weekend, as well as the party’s national working committee (NWC).
Although Parliament confirmed that Doidge’s resignation letter had been received by the Speaker’s office, the former minister said: “I have not yet made up my mind.”
Stofile confirmed that he had tendered his resignation to Parliament, where he served as the ANC’s first chief whip in 1994.
But he added that while he was keen to retire, hanging up his public-office hat was still “a matter of discussion”.
He said that those left without positions in the reshuffle would meet with Zuma tomorrow to get their “marching orders”.
Stofile conceded that there had been rumours that he was in line for a diplomatic posting, with Finland, Germany and Zimbabwe having been mentioned. - Sunday Independent