President Jacob Zuma's surprise Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday saw Blade Nzimande removed from his post as Higher Education and Training Minister. File picture: Itumeleng English
Parliament - President Jacob Zuma's surprise Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, which saw Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande axed, was a "direct attack" on the South African Communist Party (SACP), a statement from the ruling party alliance partner said.

Nzimande, a former supporter of Zuma turned critic, is the general secretary of the SACP - one of the alliance partners of Zuma's African National Congress.

In a scathing statement, the SACP said: "We emphatically reject these manoeuvres that place the Alliance on the brink of disintegration. Our view is that this is not a reshuffle but the targeted removal of Cde Blade as a direct attack on the SACP."

The SACP confirmed it had not been consulted, a courtesy normally afforded to alliance partners.

"The continued authoritarianism by Zuma, disregarding Alliance protocols and relations, has plunged the Alliance into unchartered waters."

The SACP said the reshuffle was nothing more than retaliation for calls by the SACP and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the ANC's other alliance partner, on Zuma to resign.

"It is a well-known fact that the malady of corruption, governance decay and state capture has worsened exponentially under the incumbency of President Zuma and his friends, the Gupta family," the SACP said.

"If the President thinks that by removing Dr Nzimande from the Cabinet he will silence the SACP from the leading role it has played to expose and confront state capture, he is glaringly mistaken! Instead, the SACP is even more committed to continuing with its leading role in waging the struggle against state capture and corruption."

African News Agency