South Africa's Zuma pledges to transform economy for poor

Author

07 April, 2017

The South African Rand has plummeted in mid-week trade on news the ruling ANZ party has confirmed it stands 100% behind President Jacob Zuma.

"The Presidency respects the right of South Africans to protest peacefully as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic".

All of us know that Zuma's targets were Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

The Gordhan affair has threatened to split the ANC, some of whose senior officials reportedly back calls for Zuma to resign.

"The president indicated in November that that was his wish and he was persuaded by us that he should wait a while‚" Duarte said at a media briefing after a special meeting of the national working committee (NWC). The ANC has a commanding majority in the national assembly and said on Thursday that its members would vote against the motion.

To massive applause, provincial communist party leader Jeremy Cronin called for "lifestyle audits" for all ministers, deputy ministers and board members of state-owned institutions with the aim of rooting out corruption. It came in the face of widespread criticism of Zuma's cabinet changes that prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation's credit rating to junk and weakened the rand.

Gordhan, who was widely considered a bulwark against corruption, was seen to be the target of political pressure from a faction allied to Zuma.

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Zuma's fresh "transformation" pledge has been criticised by opponents who say it is a populist attempt to win votes and vague rhetoric similar to many promises made since the end of apartheid in 1994.

"Comrade Jonas has served both as deputy minister and MP with absolute distinction and dedication", the office of the ANC chief whip said. Similar bids have failed to muster the needed votes to oust Zuma in the past. The ANC also regretted the downgrade and said they have noted the issues raised by the rating agency.

Gordhan was replaced by Home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba after a month-long battle with Zuma over government spending.

"Zuma's decision is likely to cost yet more jobs and will have a lasting and calamitous impact on ordinary South Africans", the DA said.

Mantashe denied that Gordhan was sacked exclusively because of an intelligence report that accused him and Jonas of plotting with banks in London to undermine the South African economy, saying it was not the only reason for Gordhan's removal.

In 2008, ruling party leaders withdrew their backing for Zuma's predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, and he quit.


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