Ramaphosa breaks his silence on cabinet reshuffle

Ramaphosa breaks his silence on cabinet reshuffle

However, key party factions including its youth and women's leagues expressed support for Zuma, whose office said the reshuffle was aimed at promoting efficiency, as well as women and younger lawmakers. But he never got along with Gordhan. The new finance minister is Malusi Gigaba.

In a Facebook post, ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu also displayed unhappiness with Zuma's latest decision saying they are pained by the removal of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from the finance ministry on the basis of a very suspicious intelligence report.

On Friday, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, a top candidate to succeed Zuma as African National Congress leader at the end of the year, called Gordhan's ouster "totally unacceptable".

Critics labeled the report a fake.

As the rand spiraled downward Friday, party leaders condemned the move.

The ANC's secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, said the new cabinet list was drafted outside the party and unilaterally imposed by Mr. Zuma without consulting the party.

The currency was heading for a 7.2 per cent loss for the week - the worst such performance since the last time Zuma rocked markets with a finance-minister firing.

Another said "she needs time and space to work the ground" ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December, where she wants to run for president.

Zuma said the changes were made to "bring about radical socio-economic transformation and ensure the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality" in a video statement Friday.

The EFF on Thursday petitioned South Africa's highest court to impeach Zuma.

Africa's most industrialized economy faces the risk of being downgraded to junk status owing to weak economic growth after it got a reprieve a year ago.

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"This is an attack on the institution of the Treasury and as such will trigger multiple downgrades", wrote Peter Attard Montalto, a research analyst at the investment firm Nomura, in the Mail and Guardian. Zuma allies like Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen were also not spotted at the event.

"Zuma's actions are compelling some people within the ANC who have been standing on the sidelines to take action", said Ongama Mtimka, a political science lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

President Jacob Zuma's performance approval rating has dropped below its previous low of 21% in February 2016 to 20% in March 2017.

The Cabinet shuffle comes as the calls for Zuma to step down grow.

"Today we are more likely to see a severely wounded and divided party which may create new opportunities for genuine democracy and political realignments", he said.

Over the last year-and-a-half, Gordhan fought a public tussle with President Jacob Zuma for control over the public coffers.

"Debt levels have increased, the budget deficit remains under pressure, and the government's tax take as a proportion of gross domestic product is projected to reach a record level", Cronje said.

"Compared to past ANC leaders, Zuma falls far short - and he's aware of it and extremely sensitive", said political analyst Mari Harris of IPSOS South Africa.

The purge appears to strengthen the hand of the Guptas, an Indian business family who are close to Zuma and Gigaba. Policy uncertainty has inevitably risen and this is not helpful for encouraging the private fixed investment that South Africa needs to grow more rapidly.

"In the next two to three months, we are going have a very hard time", he said, adding that this could be further exacerbated by the muted economy, volatile rand, the impact of USA politics and Brexit and the African National Congress's succession plans.