Bonds weaker as ANC closes ranks behind Zuma

Previous no-confidence motions in parliament against Zuma have failed as the ANC has a commanding majority there.

The African National Congress acknowledged growing calls for Zuma to step down, admitting to "serious and hard disagreement" over the president's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week.

Opposition parties have intensified their efforts to unseat President Zuma, pressuring the ruling party to recall him and requesting a no-confidence motion from the National Assembly.

A series of anti-Zuma protests are scheduled for Friday across South Africa, with many organisations beginning preparations already.

Mantashe accused the media of attempting to convince ANC cadres to vote with the opposition to remove President Zuma.

The ANC acknowledged that its allies, including the SACP and the Cosatu trade union federation, had urged the president to resign, insisting that it would keep engaging with its tripartite alliance partners "on this matter".

A former member of the ANC's Umkhonto we Sizwe military wing, Zuma rose to become head of intelligence, a post that gave him leverage with allies and opponents alike.

The president has defended his change at the Treasury, saying that the government's financial policies remained the same.

But Nomura analyst Peter Attard Montalto said Zuma would survive the talks going on at ANC headquarters despite calls from some factions for him to go.

Mr Zuma has been cleared by the NWC of the charge that he reshuffled the cabinet without consultation.

South Africa's Chamber of Mines has slammed president Jacob Zuma's "irrational" late-night cabinet reshuffle which caused Standard and Poor's to downgrade the country's credit rating to junk status.

Zuma appointed 10 new ministers and 10 new deputy ministers.

"No army allows its soldiers to be commanded by the enemy general", said Mantashe, indicating that Zuma's fate rests within the ranks of the party he leads.

Three of the ANC's top officials - deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary general Gwede Mantashe, and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize - have accepted that they made a "mistake" by publicly criticising President Jacob Zuma following his Cabinet reshuffle.

South Africa's embattled president has been backed by a major decision-making body within the ruling ANC.

He was speaking to journalists in Johannesburg at Luthuli House following a National Working Committee (NWC) meeting which took place on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Leroy Wright