Sacked South African Minister Breaks Silence on Intelligence Report

Over the last year-and-a-half, Gordhan fought a public tussle with President Jacob Zuma for control over the public coffers.

Zuma shrugged off pressure from within his own party, the opposition as well as the business circles to keep Gordhan as finance minister.

Rumours have been confirmed as finance minister Pravin Gordhan was sacked from his role, along with his deputy minister, Mcebisi Jonas.

Others are Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The reshuffle of 10 of the country's 35 ministers was announced after midnight in a move that likely was created to soften negative impact on markets but also deepened intrigue and shock in South Africa, whose pride in its democratic credentials, forged in the struggle against apartheid, has been diminished over the years by scandals around Zuma.

The president said that the changes were "to bring about radical socio-economic transformation".

Gordhan had been seen as standing up to President Zuma in cabinet and has warned against corruption becoming rampant.

In the months leading up to Friday's cabinet reshuffle, it was widely accepted that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe had been sworn in as an MP for the primary goal of making him the finance minister.

By dismissing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a respected political veteran who was attempting to salvage investor confidence in the country, Zuma invited criticism from some of his closest allies.

For the second consecutive day, the influential ANC Youth League, however, issued a statement on Thursday backing Zuma's planned cabinet changes.

"The timing of the axing of Gordhan and the manner in which it has been done couldn't have come at a worse time for our country", said George.

On Wednesday, he said he would "open a new chapter" of his life if sacked.

Academic and political analyst Stephen Friedman said Ramaphosa and Mantashe had the freedom to speak out, and if the former had not done so, it would have stripped him of his credibility, already compromised by times when he could have taken position against the president and did not.

Zuma's deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, criticised the President's decision to fire Gordhan.

"Let us call for the South African passports and residential rights of the Guptas to be revoked immediately!"

Africa's most industrialised economy faces the risk of being downgraded to junk status owing to weak economic growth. Gordhan's firing is another blow an economy that grew just 0.5 per cent previous year and has an unemployment rate of around 27 per cent.

South Africa has fired its finance minister, sending the country's currency crashing. When you have the deputy president and the secretary general saying we were not consulted before the reshuffle, there is a serious problem.

The reshuffle has been described as not being in the interest of the country and could hurt the ailing economy. "We have reached a decisive moment in which, in the considered view of the SACP leadership, Zuma must now resign", the party demanded.

In his maiden press conference, Gigaba spoke well of his predecessor Gordhan but pointed out the need to focus on maintaining South Africa's investment grade by ratings agencies.

  • Zachary Reyes