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Vol 58 No 5

Published 3rd March 2017

South Africa

Zuma's anti-Gordhan play

President Jacob Zuma is hesitating over a reshuffle which could tear the African National Congress apart

President Jacob Zuma has become increasingly irritated with his respected Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, who was widely praised after presenting a balanced budget on 22 February amidst trying economic circumstances. Political analysts and dissidents in the African National Congress have been expecting Zuma either to sack Gordhan and replace him with his close ally Brian Molefe or alternatively, to appoint Molefe as Deputy Finance Minister in anticipation of isolating and then sacking Gordhan. Zuma does not conceal his desire to replace Gordhan with a more pliable minister who would pursue his goal of 'radical economic transformation', which ANC factions believe is needed to head off further inroads by the Economic Freedom Fighters of Julius Malema on the ANC's left. The policy has also become the code for Zuma's strategy to shore up his formidable patronage circle and ensure the continued influence of the controversial Gupta family.

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