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This follows in the wake of a late-night cabinet shuffle which effectively relieved South Africa's finance minister, Pravin Gordham from his position. He was 87 years old.

South Africans who spoke to DW said the ministerial changes would have far-reaching consequences for the country's struggling economy.

The timing of the reshuffle in the early hours of Friday, with 10 out of 35 ministers losing their jobs in all, was created to reduce the impact on financial markets.

Earlier this week, the President recalled Gordhan from planned events in the UK.

Behind the scenes, however, Zuma allegedly told senior party members that he was letting Gordhan go based on an intelligence report that Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were meeting with stakeholders in Europe and the United States to plot against Zuma's government.

Zuma's cabinet reshuffle underscores the growing fragility of the once-celebrated African National Congress (ANC) party, which Nelson Mandela led during the fight against apartheid.

Zuma is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, ahead of the 2019 general election. He held discussions with Gordhan and agreed to a meeting with his predecessor soon, it said.

On Saturday, the president spoke of "our stated commitment to advance radical socio-economic transformation" at the launch of a housing project in his home province of KwaZulu Natal. Gigaba is a former ANC youth league leader, and has served in parliament and in cabinet under former presidents Mbeki and Zuma.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it would file an urgent legal request to try and block the reshuffle and separately push for a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in the President.

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The DA also is pushing for a vote of no-confidence in Zuma, who has survived similar votes in the ANC-dominated parliament in the past. This year the Guptas brought legal action against Gordhan, blaming him for closing their credit lines with leading South African banks.

The Chamber of Mines states the move that can only be described as weird and hard to understand, particularly as it comes at a time when South Africa's sovereign credit rating is at risk and investor confidence in the economy is at a very low ebb.

Wall Street cheered news that growth hit 2.1 percent in the last three months of 2016, which was 0.2 points better than first thought, with crucial consumer spending seeing a strong increase.

"The effects are manifold". The lenders said separately that they closed the accounts for fear of damage to their reputations and that they need to take into account laws on money laundering and corruption. Whether the ANC has the institutional power to force Zuma's hands out of the cookie jar will tell us a lot about the future of South Africa, and even more about the future of the ANC.

Fitch Ratings predicted that the reshuffle will raise tensions within the ruling party and could weaken public finances and governance standards.

In an obvious reference to the corruption allegations surrounding Zuma and the wealthy Indian Gupta business family, Gordhan said his soul and that of the country were not for sale. Little known Des van Rooyen, who had no financial experience, replaced him.

Ramaphosa and former African Union Chairwoman Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma are viewed as the front-runners to replace Zuma.

"The firing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister simply intensifies the notion that the process of total state capture has now been set firmly in motion.

South Africans must not pay for nonsense that happens elsewhere", he said.


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