Instead, Dlamini Zuma will warm up the parliamentary benches as an ordinary MP and has been deployed to the small business development portfolio committee, for time being.
Dlamini Zuma’s return to Parliament last month sparked speculation that a cabinet reshuffle was on the cards and that she was to take up a senior cabinet post.
Even the official opposition had viewed her redeployment as a pre-emptive strike by President Jacob Zuma against ANC MPs who backed a secret ballot in the failed motion of no confidence.
Dlamini Zuma had herself shot down the talk when Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli swore her in in his office three weeks ago.
At the time she said she was ready to serve in any portfolio committee the ANC assigned her to.
“It’s going to be a lot of work, but I am happy. They decide which portfolio committee to go to. I don’t mind any committee, I will learn,” Dlamini Zuma was quoted as saying.
On Monday, the Parliament’s ATC (Announcements, Tablings and Committee reports) let the cat out of the bag about where the former health minister was heading for now.
The ATC said Dlamini Zuma, who replaced former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe, has been deployed by the governing party to the portfolio committee on small business development as a full member.
She will also be an alternate member on the arts and culture portfolio committee.
In the small business development portfolio committee, Dlamini Zuma will be joined by fellow ANC MP from KwaZulu-Natal, Mervin Dirks.
Dirks and other ANC parliamentarians caused a stir when they revolted against the continued chairing of the public service and administration committee by then chairperson Makhosi Khoza, in the days leading up to the failed motion of no confidence.
Dlamini Zuma is one of several candidates vying to succeed Zuma.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is in the running for the top job, as well as Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, among others.
Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni said if Dlamini Zuma’s backers wanted her to campaign for ANC presidency, they would not want to give her much of a workload.
“This will afford her an ability on Parliament to assist in her financial sustainability,” he said.
Fikeni also said being in Parliament would also afford her privileges such as travel, which were costly from one’s purse.
Fikeni said former Eskom boss Brian Molefe had, according reports, been tipped to be a minister when he was moved to Parliament, but his appointment had apparently faced resistance during internal consultation in the ANC.