South African ex-minister sacked by Zuma resigns as MP

Miranda GreerApr 07, 2017

"As the planned day of protests approaches, the ANC calls on all South Africans to organise in a calm and measured fashion".

"We have confidence in the leaders" of Parliament and the African National Congress "and we trust that they will rise to the occasion and give decisive, fearless and honest leadership", the bishops said.

The office of the ANC chief whip's liaison officer, Nonceba Mhlauli, said they were not told the reasons for Jonas's resignations and said she was not in a position to speculate. It says there were no injuries.

Although Thursday's resignations are an embarrassment rather than a direct threat to Zuma, around whom the ANC has "closed ranks" in recent days, he still faces demands to step down from other political and civil society groups. The calls were sparked by Zuma's decision to fire his finance minister and stack the cabinet with loyalists, which led to S&P Global Ratings cutting the nation's credit assessment to junk on April 3.

"No army allows its soldiers to be commanded by the enemy general", Mantashe said, implying that any decision to unseat him would have to come from within the ANC itself.

The party publicly backed Zuma after an ANC committee meeting aimed at airing difference on Wednesday, lowering the chances of him being forced out of office before his presidential term ends in 2019.

Gordhan's removal has deepened a rift within the ruling party, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a leading candidate to replace Zuma as ANC president, describing it Friday as "totally, totally unacceptable".

The opposition parties said ANC MPs should introspect "and choose Zuma and the Guptas - or the people".

He said the NWC had since congratulated all newly-appointed ministers and the deputies.

The axing of Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas saw Standard and Poor's cut South Africa's sovereign credit rating to below investment-grade, sending the local rand currency tumbling.

Hours after Mantashe spoke, the parliament scheduled debate on an opposition motion of no confidence in Zuma for April 18.

Similar votes have failed in the past.

Jonas was at the center of the state capture scandal after revealing that he was approached by friends of the president, the Gupta family, with an offer to be finance minister - on condition that he assist them in securing billions of rands' worth of government contracts.

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, called for the parliamentary vote of no confidence in the president.

Political analysts were not surprised by the ruling party's stance Wednesday.

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