Finance minister back in South Africa after Zuma recall


The finance minister was believed to be the main target of a reshuffle.This follows renewed speculation about Gordhan's future after Zuma on Monday recalled Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas from roadshows in London and the United States aimed at investors and ratings agencies‚ triggering renewed speculation of a cabinet reshuffle.

The confirmation follows well-sourced reports in Bloomberg News this week that when Zuma told other members of the top six leaders of the African National Congress of his intentions, three of them had opposed the move.

President Zuma is considering a deal under which he will step down early next year if he is allowed to dismiss his finance minister in the next few days.

"This is in light of their public pronouncements earlier today, in which it was confirmed that the removal of Gordhan and Jonas was discussed with its leadership, and that the party publically denounces Zuma's assault on the National Treasury and the economy".

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The political tensions spooked foreign exchange markets, with the rand losing nearly six percent against the USA dollar since the recall was announced Monday, with $1 buying 13.02 rand at midday on Tuesday.

South African media reports suggest Zuma and Gordhan have an uneasy relationship, although the president has denied they are "at war". The rand slowed its downward slope later in the day only when Gordhan told reporters he was still the finance minister.

Malema said his party wanted the court to force parliament to institute action against Zuma. However, his vision of much-needed economic reform differs greatly from President Zuma's agenda aimed at greater centralization at an increased, dirigiste role of the government in the economy. Gordhan has wrangled for months with the head of the agency, a Zuma ally.

"The president is unable to sack Gordhan without risking his own position". Gordhan's efforts to keep spending in check and protect South Africa's investment-grade credit rating endeared him to investors.

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Zuma's planned sacking of Gordhan may have been put on hold due to the death of celebrated anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, 87, on Tuesday. The Guptas have sought to pressurize Gordhan to force the banks to re-open their accounts.

Zuma himself did not attend the funeral upon the request of the family of Kathrada who was critical of the president and had asked him to resign previous year due to the controversies surrounding him.

In December 2015, he bowed to pressure from within the ANC and appointed Mr. Gordhan as finance minister after markets tumbled when he replaced respected economist Nhlanhla Nene with little-known lawmaker David van Rooyen.

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