MPs to oppose no confidence motion against Zuma

Jonas, like former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, was seen as among the few taking a stand against the rot that has spread across government.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party has filed an urgent court application to have Zuma's decision to remove Gordhan and Jonas set aside on the grounds that it was unlawful.

The ruling African National Congress on Thursday appealed for calm during the demonstrations and said it is concerned about reports of people seeking to take up weapons in its name.

"We are running the risk in South Africa that honest people don't want to participate in government institutions", Gordhan said.

The ANC's chief whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu, said the motion was "not only disingenuous, but also highly unfortunate as they seek to suggest that ANC MPs are free agents open to all sorts of mischievous lobbying and manipulation by the opposition and other forces".

After considering the complaint, the ANC has decided not to press for Zuma to resign, a party official said.

"On behalf of the ANC in Parliament we thank comrade Jonas for his selfless service to the movement as its public representative", said a statement from the Office of the Chief Whip.

Calls to Jonas went unanswered, and his former spokesperson couldn't comment because he no longer worked for the treasury.

Gordhan, a two-time finance minister, was regarded as a steady hand by the global investors on whom South Africa relies to finance its hefty budget and current account deficits.

Amid mounting calls for him to step down over a corruption conviction, Zuma fired the popular finance minister last week and replaced him with the loyal but inexperienced Malusi Gigaba. The move had disastrous consequences for the country's already struggling economy, sending the rand into freefall and causing rating agency Standard and Poor's to downgrade the country's sovereign credit ranking to junk status.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is not opposed to a protest march by civil society group SaveSA this week to the capital's Union Buildings, where his offices are located, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The well-respected Gordhan, who was sacked by President Jacob Zuma last week due to "irreconcilable differences", addressed thousands of people who had crammed into St George's Cathedral, its courtyard and adjacent streets in the city of Cape Town to voice their anger against the government. A "holding hands" picket is planned in Cape Town.

"The marches in themselves will not have an effect on the ANC, the only thing that will have an effect will be the internal ebb and flow of its factions", said political analyst Daniel Silke.

  • Leroy Wright