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Whatsapp messages suggest Ramaphosa team concerned about possible axing

There's been increased speculation about Ramaphosa's position in the wake of yet another Cabinet reshuffle, with some suggesting he could be out of a job by as early as Friday.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on 20 November 2016. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – As speculation mounts about Cyril Ramaphosa's future as deputy president, several people working in his campaign say they are concerned he may soon be axed by President Jacob Zuma.

With less than 60 days to go before the African National Congress' (ANC) elective conference, the battle for the leadership of the party is in full swing.

There's been increased speculation about Ramaphosa's position in the wake of yet another Cabinet reshuffle announced by the president on Tuesday, with some suggesting he could be out of a job by as early as Friday.

Whatsapp messages purportedly sent between Ramaphosa's campaigners have emerged, suggesting he’ll be removed from cabinet before December.

The texts mention an alleged intelligence report that campaigners say has already been cooked and will be used to charge the deputy president with treason so he cannot stand for election as ANC leader.

Veteran unionist James Motlatsi also recently claimed that President Zuma intends using the supposed intelligence report to justify Ramaphosa’s removal.

WATCH: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in the National Assembly

Ramaphosa has been questioned over his own political future amid speculation that President Zuma is preparing to fire him from his Cabinet.

Ramaphosa was answering questions in the national assembly Thursday afternoon, just two days after Zuma reshuffled his executive for the second time in seven months.

This week a close confidante of Ramaphosa’s claimed in a television interview that Zuma believes his deputy is a spy for western capitalists.

Ramaphosa has told Members of Parliament (MPs) he serves at the pleasure of president Zuma.

His possible axing came up repeatedly in parliament on Thursday afternoon, with the Economic Freedom Fighters' Floyd Shivambu first off the mark.

“Are you going to be removed as deputy president because your friend said you are going to be removed as deputy president of South Africa very soon, maybe this week or tomorrow. Please clarify that.”

Ramaphosa told MPs it’s Zuma’s prerogative

“And if the decision is to remove me, I will accept that as a decision that will have been taken by the president and I will continue serving the people of South Africa in one form, shape or another.”

Ramaphosa later referred to the latest cabinet reshuffle as feeding the narrative of instability, as ministers were re-positioned just months after being given new portfolios - an apparent swipe at Zuma.

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