South Africa's Embattled Zuma Fires Ministers Who Challenged Him

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa launched a stinging verbal attack on President Jacob Zuma on Friday, criticising a cabinet purge in which Indian-origin finance minister Pravin Gordhan was sacked.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said that the ruling party was not consulted over the Cabinet reshuffle.

The rand recovered some ground on Friday as investors took profits after the currency fell sharply following President Jacob Zuma's late night decision to remove finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan has been replaced by Malusi Gigaba, a former home affairs minister, a statement from the president's office said. I raised my concern and objection on the removal of the Minister of Finance‚ largely because he was being removed based on an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations about the Minister of Finance and his deputy going to London to mobilise financial markets against our country. "We hope that more and more South Africans will make it absolutely clear that our country is not for sale", he said.

The analyst also warns that the South African Rand could fall further from here.

The rand fell as much as 1.7 per cent following the report, while bonds weakened sharply. Earlier previous year, South Africa's highest court found that Zuma had violated his oath of office by refusing to abide by an order to pay back some of the millions of dollars in public money spent on upgrading his rural home.

S and P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings both rank the sovereign one level above junk, while Moody's puts it two notches higher.

"Ministers have been moved and the majority of them were good performing ministers". Already Zuma has foreshadowed land seizures from whites, raising fears that South Africa could follow Zimbabwe's path to economic ruin, which followed the seizures of white farms.

Africa's most industrialised economy escaped being downgraded to junk status a year ago.

Mr Gordhan was recalled from trade talks in London this week, on the pretence that he and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were plotting with United Kingdom banks against the interests of the South African economy. "This is a full whack Zuma-led reshuffle which will lead to multiple imminent downgrades", he said, adding that the opposition to Zuma in the ANC now looked weak.

The Economic Freedom Fighters party applied to the country's highest court to order parliament to begin impeachment proceedings against Zuma for lying to the legislative body.

The president's office in a statement just after midnight on Thursday confirmed the new change. "This to us is akin to organising an unconstitutional change of government and we ask that his words at this press briefing be considered carefully", Cibane said.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it would file an urgent legal request to try and block the reshuffle and separately push for a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in the President.



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