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South Africa: Big Political Challenge Could Present Opportunity

08 April 2017

Zuma also made changes to ten of the country's 35 ministries, including energy, police, and tourism. The trio make up half of the party's committee of top officials. The ANC has a near two-thirds majority in the 400-seat national assembly and can block any such move to oust Zuma if its lawmakers rally behind their leader.

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as "totally unacceptable". The rand was the world's worst-performing currency this week, while bond yields jumped to their highest levels since January.

"This is no way meant to undermine the prerogative of the President of the Republic of South Africa in reshuffling or making changes to his cabinet, which is derived from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa". Kathrada died on Tuesday. South Africa's highest court a year ago found that Zuma had violated his oath of office by refusing to abide by an order to pay back some of the millions of dollars in public money spent on upgrading his rural home. His second and final term as the nation's president is due to end in 2019. This time, the markets were warned by the continuous rumors and political turmoil surrounding Zuma and Gordhan.

"I will be guided by my conscience if that actually happens and hopefully do the right thing, whatever that might be", he said, when asked whether he would support a motion of no confidence against Zuma in Parliament.

According to News24, Maleka said the timing of the reshuffle, and the deepening banking troubles faced by the Gupta family, laid bare a disturbing reality.

"I felt like this list has been developed somewhere else and was given to us to legitimize it".

"There are many of my comrades in the [ANC] NEC that would say the same thing, that the people shall govern". "Their crime is incorruptibility".

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A government source said: "they were told last night or this morning to come back... the presidency did not give permission for the trip".

Gordhan was in London for the first leg of a week-long non-deal investor roadshow in Britain and the U.S. when he was recalled by Zuma.

His main rival is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former head of the African Union Commission and the president's ex-wife. The ANC's chief parliamentary whip, Jackson Mthembu, said Mr. Zuma had fired the "incorruptible" cabinet members because they refused to "sell their soul".

Political worries are once again nibbling at the South African rand, after President Zuma's latest unorthodox government appointment raised investor fears that he could try to unseat the country's internationally-respected finance minister.

"I am sure that when President [Nelson] Mandela became president of the country, he had the particular challenge that he had never presided over a country before; the same applied to [Trevor Manuel] the finance minister in 1996; the same applied to the now outgoing minister Pravin Gordhan and others before me".

"Jacob Zuma has take a huge political risk, possibly the biggest political risk of his career thus far", Daniel Silke, director at Political Futures Consultancy said.