South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle that affects at least 15 ministers and deputy ministers.
“I have decided to make changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness,” Zuma said in a statement.
This came after Zuma summoned the rest of the top six members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to an urgent meeting in Pretoria, administrative capital of South Africa, apparently to discuss the reshuffle.
“The changes bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise,” Zuma said.
The reshuffle was seen as one of Zuma’s most dramatic moves during his tenure. Zuma also shuffled ministers in the transport, energy, police, sports, public works and tourism portfolios. The sacking of Gordhan, in particular, has sparked an outcry.
The South African Communist Party (SACP), a coalition partner of the ruling ANC party, said it objects to the cabinet reshuffle.
“The SACP wishes to state that as the norm, the President informed us of his intention to effect a Cabinet reshuffle, replacing both the Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance,” the party said in a statement.
The ANC has an obligation to consult its alliance partners in exercising political power that has been collectively struggled for, said the SACP.
The SACP confirmed on Thursday that Zuma had told the party that he intended to fire Gordhan based on an “intelligence report.”
The report claimed that Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were going to use a trip to Britain and the United States to hold “secret meetings” and push for a change in government.
On Monday, Zuma instructed Gordhan to cancel his overseas investor roadshow and immediately return to South Africa. Enditem