President Jacob Zuma has reshuffled his Cabinet, leaving the South African Communist Party's Blade Nzimande out in the cold.
Leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane, has called the latest reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma an attempt to reinforce a nuclear deal with Russian Federation.
Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize is the Minister of Higher Education and Training, replacing Blade Nzimande.
The SACP and the country's largest trade union, COSATU, are long-term political allies with Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) party.
Buti Manamela moves from the Presidency to deputy minister of Higher Education and Training.
The SACP has repeatedly called for Zuma to step down from his position as president.
He labeled President Zuma "desperate" and alluded to the proposed nuclear energy deal.
Zuma also moved State Security Minister David Mahlobo to the energy portfolio, the president's office announced, reviving debate over controversial and costly plans for nuclear energy. Advocate Bongani Thomas Bongo is now the new Minister of State Security and Mmamaloko Kubayi is the new Minister of Communications.
It was expected that presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, after she was sworn into parliament a few weeks ago, would also be included in the Cabinet but Zuma left her untouched.
The Sunday Times reported last month that Mahlobo accompanied convicts Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene - supposedly Zuma's New Best Friends - to Russia to present themselves as BEE partners to Russian oil and gas company Rosgeo for a R5bn deal.
Remember that Zuma's favourite son, Duduzane, and the Guptas own Shiva Uranium, who will be one of the chief beneficiaries of a nuclear deal.
Political analyst Daniel Silke told Fin24 in an emailed response for comment that there are two aspects to the latest Cabinet reshuffle. Mahlobo has now been trusted with pushing the deal through - and fast.
- Adriaan Basson is editor of News24.