President Cyril Ramaphosa has grounded all ministers and deputy ministers as talks of an imminent cabinet reshuffle intensify.
The Presidency informed cabinet ministers this week that they would not be permitted to travel overseas on official duty until further notice, well-placed sources said.
Ministers and their deputies told the Sunday Times that the memo from the Presidency also said they should prioritise service delivery and focus on issues affecting their departments.
The move was widely seen as the clearest indication yet that Ramaphosa planned to wield his axe soon.
Those who received the memo said ministers who had trips already approved by former president Jacob Zuma were instructed to resubmit their travel requests and motivate why it was necessary for them to leave the country.
Sources said the memo was distributed at the most recent cabinet meeting.
“They must individually plead their case and then the president will decide,” a source said.
The president has to approve official international trips by ministers.
Ramaphosa has been in office for just over a week, after Zuma resigned from office.
The Sunday Times understands that Ramaphosa met with the ANC top six on Friday night to consult them about the changes he plans to make in the cabinet.
Another meeting was scheduled for last night to finalise the list of names.
Insiders said they expected Ramaphosa to announce his new cabinet today or tomorrow.
Ramaphosa’s acting spokesman, Tyrone Seale, said any changes to the national executive would be communicated to the public when and if they happened.
While Ramaphosa deliberated, his deputy in the ANC, David Mabuza, seemed to have packed his bags as premier of Mpumalanga, a move that puts Ramaphosa in a corner and ups the pressure to appoint him as deputy president of the country.
On Friday, Mabuza delivered his farewell state of the province address.
A few days earlier he had told his provincial cabinet he was ready to take up a role in the national government.
In his address on Friday, Mabuza said: “Part of the renewal and new dawn must manifest through the emergence of a new cohort of leadership cadres to take the struggles of our people forward.
There is no doubt that this province has capable men and women that will rise to leadership demands of the present time.”
Provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu said the ANC in Mpumalanga was ready for Mabuza to be considered as Ramaphosa’s deputy.