ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has rubbished claims that President Jacob Zuma grilled the party's top leadership during the national working committee (NWC) meeting on Tuesday over his cabinet reshuffle.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mantashe went public and condemned the reshuffle, and said publicly that the list was developed somewhere and not from within the ANC. Ramaphosa went further to state that Zuma presented the top five ANC officials with a "ready made" list. Zuma's presidential term will finish in 2019.
He said Zuma brought a list to the ANC top six meeting ahead of the reshuffle on Thursday and "all of us received that list at the same time and raised issues about consultation".
The Gordhan affair has threatened to split the ANC on the question of whether Zuma should resign. The move had disastrous consequences for the country's already struggling economy, sending the rand into freefall and causing rating agency Standard and Poor's to downgrade the country's sovereign credit ranking to junk status.
"He explained his reasons then to us that his relationship between himself and finance minister Gordhan was not good‚" she said.
Several senior leaders - including chief whip Jackson Mthembu, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, and health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi - have called on Zuma to go.
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"No army allows its soldiers to be commanded by the enemy general", Mantashe said, implying that any decision to unseat him would have to come from within the ANC itself. We have a party-political system... there will be no such a thing as motion of no-confidence in the president.
But Nomura analyst Peter Attard Montalto said Zuma would survive the talks going on at ANC headquarters despite calls from some factions for him to go.
South Africa's ruling party gave a boost to the embattled president on Wednesday, saying an opposition effort to force his resignation after he fired the finance minister would fail.
The March 30 Cabinet shuffle deepened divisions in the African National Congress, which has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. The intelligence report on which Zuma reportedly based his decision initially "complicated matters", he said.
Mantashe denied that Gordhan was sacked exclusively because of an intelligence report that accused him and Jonas of plotting with banks in London to undermine the South African economy, saying it was not the only reason for Gordhan's removal.
When asked why the relationship had broken down, he said it was only the two in the relationship who could answer that.