ANC Caucus stands by corruption and poor leadership - John Steenhuisen

The South African Communist Party and the country's biggest trade union, Cosatu, both historic allies of the ANC, have each called on Zuma to step down following the sacking.

The ruling ANC party has backed Zuma, and rejected calls for him to resign.

Since Zuma sacked Gordhan on Friday, concerns over corruption in the government are blamed for a fall in the value of the currency of South Africa, one of Africa's most industrialized economies.

He retains the full support of the leadership of at least five of the ANC's provincial structures, a large number of MPs in parliament, as well as the ANC women's and youth leagues.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation had its doubts over Zuma's leadership abilities.

"The time has arrived for him to step down and allow the country to be led forward by a new collective at the government level".

The downgrade is likely to make it more expensive for South Africa to borrow money on the global financial markets, as lending to the country would be viewed by investors as riskier.

South Africa's parliament will on April 18 debate a motion of no confidence against Zuma brought by the main opposition party after he dismissed the respected finance minister.

Jonas's resignation comes a week after he was axed as deputy minister of finance in a Cabinet reshuffle that sparked widespread outrage against President Jacob Zuma.

Selfe said ratings agency Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade South Africa's credit rating to junk status was due to Gordhan's removal.

Zuma defended the cabinet reshuffle, saying the reshuffle will add renewed energy into cabinet and the executive as a whole.

Zuma has survived calls to resign, at least for now.

The reshuffle that saw Pravin Gordhan fired as the finance minister has plunged the party into a new crisis, with senior leaders openly differing over the decision.

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

The government has said social media calls to hold protests against Zuma on Friday are created to damage the country's image and economy.

The outcome of Tuesday's national working committee meeting, which was widened to include provincial chairpersons and secretaries, also suggests he still remains the dominant force in the ruling party.

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa called for his countrymen to get rid of "greedy" and "corrupt" people, in remarks seen as an attack on President Jacob Zuma.

  • Leroy Wright