South African opposition files no-confidence motion against President

South Africa's former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, whose sacking has fuelled divisions within the ANC party, warned Thursday that the government risked being taken over by "a bunch of gangsters".

President Jacob Zuma sacked Gordhan last week in a cabinet overhaul that threatens to split the ANC party, which has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994.

In a statement the party's chief whip, John Steenhuisen, said the decision by the governing party's caucus to vote against the motion clearly demonstrated that its members supported Zuma's "disastrous" presidency, which he said, was marked by corruption, lawlessness and poor leadership.

"Comrade Jonas has served both as deputy minister and MP with absolute distinction and dedication", the office of the ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, said.

Last week, President Zuma who also fired Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, and Public Service and Administration Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodiwhen, said he made changes to the National Executive "in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness". Zuma and the Gupta family have denied any wrongdoing.

Previous no-confidence motions against Zuma have failed as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has a commanding majority.

Jonas made headlines a year ago when he said that he had been offered the finance minister's job by members of the Gupta family, Indian businessmen who have close ties with Zuma and have been accused of influence-peddling. "Could he join an alternative movement seeking to shape a better future for South Africa?" political analyst Daniel Silke said.

On Tuesday, the country's biggest trade union Cosatu asked Zuma to quit.

A group called Save South Africa, which opposes President Jacob Zuma, says some of its supporters were attacked in the capital, Pretoria, on Wednesday night. A "holding hands" picket is also planned in Cape Town.

"See you on the 18th of April", said the trusted former minister, who has indicated that he would vote according to conscience on the motion brought by opposition parties.

"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 Silke.

  • Leroy Wright