Defiant Cyril Ramaphosa calls firing of Pravin Gordhan "unacceptable"

As the South African President Jacob Zuma ousted Pravin Gordhan and other top ministers, inviting economic uncertainties for the country, rand slumped four per cent against the United States dollar.

The move pushed the rand more than 3 percent weaker while yields on South Africa's dollar-denominated sovereign debt rose as fears of a credit rating downgrade to subinvestment intensified.

"I have made my views known (to Zuma) and there are quite a number of other colleagues and comrades who are unhappy about this situation", Ramaphosa told reporters.

South Africa's new ministers and deputy ministers will be sworn in at 1600 GMT on Friday.

And he noted that in December 2015 months ago, Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and replaced him with Des van Rooyen, he bowed to pressure from ANC leaders and key figures in business and politics days later and put Gordhan in the key portfolio.

South Africans who spoke to DW said the ministerial changes would have far-reaching consequences for the country's struggling economy.

He also says the way President Zuma spoke to the ANC's top six leaders gave the distinct impression that the ANC is no longer the political centre.

Zuma and his followers have been accused by opponents and some senior ANC members of corruption and links with the wealthy Gupta family.

For foreign investors that is a boon, but for South African taxpayers subsidising the state it does not represent value for money.

Gordhan was in the midst of his yearly investor roadshow to the United Kingdom and the U.S., trying to convince ratings agencies that the country is politically stable, when he was summarily hauled back home by Zuma. South African stocks and corporate bonds also fell sharply. South Africa now has a zero-growth GDP, a decreasing tax base and an unemployment rate of 26.5 percent. When you have the deputy president and the secretary general saying we were not consulted before the reshuffle, there is a serious problem.

Their confidence in Zuma's leadership had been restored, he said.

The currency slipped, and people protested outside parliament and the national treasury against the dismissal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the widely respected steward of one of Africa's biggest economies and a bulwark against perceived efforts to raid state coffers for personal gain.

The alliance partner said the timing of Zuma's reshuffle was indicative of South Africa "being ruled not from the Union Buildings".

Julius Malema, leader of the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters and a former protege of Zuma, filed a court application for disciplinary or impeachment proceedings against the president on Thursday. However, on Thursday the South African Communist Party said the president had informed it he was planning to fire him because he suspected Mr Gordhan of trying to overthrow the government.

  • Zachary Reyes