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S.Africa's communist party warns of looting after Zuma axes finance minister

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Pravin Gordhan South Africa's finance minister left greets former President Nelson Mandela's wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela during the funeral service for Ahmed Kathrada at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg South Africa Wednesday

This is the second time in recent weeks that Mthembu has emerged as a critic of the ANC's decisions.

Mr Gordhan was recalled from trade talks in London this week, on the pretence that he and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were plotting with United Kingdom banks against the interests of the South African economy. "Midnight ministerial massacre in South Africa". He clashed with President Jacob Zuma over the affordability of building nuclear power plants and the management of state-owned companies. As concerns grew that loyalists of the president might see an opening for graft, he added: "South Africa is not for sale". He first served as finance minister between 2009 and 2014, and returned to the job in December 2015, much to the relief of worldwide investors. At that time, Zuma had abruptly fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with a relatively unknown figure, unsettling markets.

Firing a finance minister hurts the economy.

President Jacob Zuma's replacement of Pravin Gordhan comes as part of a Cabinet shuffle that changes 10 of the country's 35 ministers.

The new Cabinet changes are "to improve efficiency and effectiveness", the statement from Zuma's office said. He has served in the cabinet before as Public Enterprises and Home Affairs ministers - but he lacks financial experience.

In equity trading today, South African media play Naspers (NPSNY) was down 2%, energy producer Sasol (SSL) was up 0.4%, and South African gold-mining plays were holding up.

"There are big shoes to fill at the Treasury", Standard Chartered Bank's Chief Africa Economist Razia Khan said.

The South African rand fell as news of the shuffle began to circulate, and dipped sharply after the official announcement in the early hours of Friday morning.

Gordhan has a reputation for probity and fighting corruption.

"Given past volatility in the rand when a cabinet reshuffle was even suggested, the expectation is that the impact may be more pronounced now".

Investors have come to trust Gordhan.

The local rand currency gradually recovered as Gordhan stressed his intention to rein in spending, tackle graft and reduce the budget deficit.

Business, labour and the treasury have worked hard over the past year to protect South Africa's credit rating.

"Any undoing of confidence or decline of rating status of country will hurt ordinary South Africans". S&P Global Ratings and Fitch have kept their assessments at the lowest grade since a year ago. If anybody wants us not to do this job, tell us not to do this job.

What does this mean for South Africa? But analysts noted that the Gupta family has been feuding with the finance minister and deputy minister for months. "I can not say "consulted".

He went a step further and called the intelligence report used to justify Gordhan's axing as "plain rubbish".

The deputy president said he had already expressed his dissatisfaction to Zuma. The organisers of the march, The Save South Africa Campaign and recently formed South African Federation of Trade Unions, called Zuma's decision "a coup against the people of this country". Similar votes have failed because the ANC has an nearly two-thirds majority.

He said one didn't have to be a genius to see the trend in the country and the urgency that was needed to deal with it.

The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, said it would file an urgent legal request to block the planned swearing-in of the new ministers later Friday.

Zuma retains widespread support from ANC members in some rural areas and has been able to rely on the party's majority in parliament to survive several votes of no confidence.

But to focus on the economy is to miss the wider significance - many feel the very essence of South Africa is at stake.

The developments capped off a remarkable week in South African politics.

Dlamini-Zuma is Zuma's ex-wife and he is expected to support her while a separate faction will back Ramaphosa, analysts say.

In 2007, President Thabo Mbeki was recalled about nine months before his term was up. While the ANC can place pressure on him to resign, only parliament can force him to do so.

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