SOUTH African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the sacking of finance minister Pravin Gordhan as “totally unacceptable”.
His late night dismissal on Thursday led to a 5-per cent plunge in the value of the currency, the rand. Gordhan was seen as a bulwark against corruption in an administration that is facing growing criticism.
He was one of several victims as President Jacob Zuma conducted a major overhaul of his cabinet.
Zuma said the midnight reshuffle was about a “radical socio-economic transformation”.
Ramaphosa told public broadcaster SABC that he would not resign in response to the sacking but continue to “serve the people”.
Gordhan was reappointed in 2015 to replace little-known David van Rooyen. Van Rooyen’s selection was controversial and he was in place for less than a week.
Comments by Ramaphosa that Gordhan’s sacking was “totally unacceptable” captures the overwhelming sentiment of some top leaders in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas had integrity and were incorruptible.
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has said the cabinet sackings “constitute an assault on the poor of South Africa”.
ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine has, however, praised the cabinet changes, calling the new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, “experienced and intelligent.”
Apart from the nine ministers who have been affected by the changes Zuma also appointed 10 deputy ministers.
Sfiso Buthelezi will become deputy finance minister, replacing Mcebisi Jonas.