President Jacob Zuma of South Africa faced a widening public backlash from senior members of the ruling African National Congress including his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday , after he fired finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
Additional cabinet changes were made .
“I made my views known. There are quite a number of other colleagues and comrades who are unhappy about the situation, particularly the removal of the minister of finance,” Ramaphosa said in a statement from his office.
But he said he would not resign.
He described Zuma’s reasons for removing Pravin Gordhan “unacceptable.”
ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said Zuma didn’t consult the party’s top six leaders about most of the cabinet changes, saying a list of nominees “was thrown at us.”
The party’s chief whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu, said he opposed the removal of Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. “Their crime is incorruptibility. We stand with them,” he said in a post on Twitter.
Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan, with whom he feuded over control of state finances, brought to the open South Africa’s biggest political crisis in almost a decade. While a group of party veterans accused Zuma of undermining the 105-year-old ANC, opposition parties are pushing for his ouster in parliament and several public protests were held. South African bank stocks tumbled and bonds plunged as the rand headed for its biggest weekly slide since 2015.
“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 the city of Port Elizabeth.