Mantashe: ANC accepts Zuma Explanation for Gordhan removal

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 05 April 2017| 07 Rajab 1438

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says the party now accepts that President Jacob Zuma removed Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister because of an irretrievable breakdown in their relationship.

The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) held a meeting on Tuesday in the wake of several calls for Zuma to step down.

Speaking at a media briefing on the NWC at Luthuli House on Wednesday, the secretary-general says the party’s top six officials who publicly disagreed with President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle have acknowledged that their public dissonance was a mistake that should not be committed again.

He says the so-called intelligence report was not the sole reason for removing Gordhan.

Mantashe says they were unhappy about the use of the intelligence report to remove the minister, which many ANC leaders described as dubious.

“The issue of the intelligence report complicated the matter, creating a lot of unhappiness. This was consequently presented as the only reason for his removal, which was unfortunate and incorrect.”

At the same time, Mantashe says he has full confidence in newly appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. He added that government remained committed to “sound and prudent” financial management.

“Against this background and following in-depth discussions by national officials, they acknowledge the Cabinet reshuffle. While the president is not obliged to make public the reasons of the removal of ministers from Cabinet, officials reported to the NWC, particularly on the removal of Pravin Gordhan as minister of finance.”

Commenting on calls by the opposition for Zuma’s removal, Mantashe says “no army allows its soldiers to be commanded by the enemy’s general”.

He also used the occasion to call for unity in the country.

Mantashe says the NWC reflected on calls by the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions for the president to resign and will now engage with members of those organisations.

Meanwhile, the party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, announced that the integrity committee would meet with the president on 9 April.

Duarte has also revealed that Zuma informed ANC leaders of his plan to sack Gordhan back in December and that they managed to convince him to delay.

South Africa’s banking index has fallen 2. 6% as the ruling party rallies around Zuma in the wake of the ratings downgrade and his Cabinet reshuffle.

Source – EWN news