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Confirmed: Zuma told SACP of plan to fire Gordhan, Jonas

The ANC's alliance partner has confirmed that President Jacob Zuma told officials he planned to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his 2017 Budget speech in Parliament on 22 February 2017. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) has confirmed that President Jacob Zuma told officials he planned to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

The ANC's alliance partner held a media briefing on Thursday where it disclosed details of its discussions with the ruling party earlier this week.

The party says that President Zuma cited an intelligence report as the reason he instructed Gordhan to return from an international investor roadshow in London.

The SACP's second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila says that the party recorded an objection to the intended 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 minister and deputy of finance. We recorded our objection to the intended reshuffle.”

Mapaila says the party has not ruled out the possibility of their members resigning from Cabinet. He says the party will decide when it happens.

Gordhan arrived back in South Africa on Tuesday morning after being summoned from London by the president on Monday.

This led to speculation that Zuma was preparing to move against Gordhan.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe refused to say if the party's top six officials had been consulted about a possible Cabinet reshuffle.

However, it's being reported that the top six of the ANC are divided down the middle on whether to remove Gordhan, sources told Reuters.

Zuma, who is part of the top six, wants to replace Gordhan and has the support of chairperson Baleka Mbete and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, the sources said.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mantashe and ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize want Gordhan to remain and have expressed their opinion to Zuma, the sources said.

Zuma does not need the support of the top six to hire and fire ministers but should top ANC members openly criticise his decision, it would likely weaken his position in the party.

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