Three of the top six officials of South Africa’s ruling party told President Jacob Zuma that they opposed his plan to fire finance minister Pravin Gordhan, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Zuma told the ANC leaders in a meeting on Monday that he wanted to dismiss Gordhan because he was aiming to sabotage the economy while the minister was holding a roadshow with investors in the UK and US as a way of undermining the president, the person with knowledge of what happened at the gathering said.
That same day, Zuma ordered Gordhan to cancel the meetings and return home from London, causing the rand to plummet.
The officials included deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, the person said. He asked not to be identified as a public statement hasn’t been made.
The six officials agreed to meet again on 3 April to discuss the issue, according to the person.
The rand reversed losses on Wednesday after the report on opposition to the dismissal of Gordhan. The currency gained as much as 0,8% against the dollar after being 1,3% weaker before the report.
As president, Zuma has the right to fire and appoint ministers at any time and doesn’t need the approval of the party’s leadership, which includes chairwoman Baleka Mbete and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte. Bongani Ngqulunga, Zuma’s spokesman, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone.
Zuma told the officials that he favoured Brian Molefe, the former head of the state power company, as a replacement for Gordhan, according to the person. — (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP