Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says he disagreed with president Jacob Zuma over the axing of finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, whom he said served with distinction.
Ramaphosa joined African National Congress (ANC) secretary general, Gwede Mantashe’s version of events that led up to a late evening Cabinet reshuffle by the president.
“It was a process of informing us of his decision,” Ramaphosa said. “It was not a consultation, because he came with a ready-made list.”
After he summoned the rest of the ANC’s top six to an urgent meeting in Pretoria on Thursday evening, Zuma made the announcement in the early hours of Friday morning, and included confirmation of the firing of finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas.
“I raised my concern and objection on the removal of the minister of finance largely because he was being removed on the basis of an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations about the minister of finance and his deputy going to London to mobilise financial markets against our country,” Ramaphosa told journalists.
“Now that I find, totally, totally unacceptable,” he said.
“I told the president…that I would not agree with him on his reasoning to remove the minister of finance. I told him that I would articulate this publicly.”
Rampahosa said he will not resign, adding that he will continue to serve the people. He said that a number of colleagues within the organisation are “unhappy about this situation”.
Gordhan has been replaced by the now former minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, while Jonas is replaced by ANC MP Sfiso Buthelezi, an economist who resigned as the COO of the Makana Investment Corporation before joining parliament.
Speaking to Radio 702 on Friday morning, Mantashe confirmed that there was a discussion on Monday about removing Gordhan. This is after Mantashe denied on Tuesday that a meeting took place.
He described the reshuffling of other ministers however, as ‘being informed’. “I can’t use the word consulted,” Mantashe said.
“I felt like this list has been developed somewhere else, it (was) given to us to legitimise it,” he said.
Mantashe said he is not comfortable with the reshuffle. “I’m very uncomfortable because areas where ministers do not perform have not been touched. Ministers have been moved, the majority of them were good performing ministers. I’m just uncomfortable with it.”
Mantashe said that the president knows that the ANC is unhappy with the changes to the Cabinet.