South Africa's African National Congress "closed ranks" around President Jacob Zuma after two key allies of the ruling party called for his resignation following a cabinet reshuffle that cost the country one of its investment-grade credit ratings.
In his first public remarks about Thursday's midnight reshuffle, Mr Zuma yesterday also urged his Cabinet to reach out and reassure worldwide investors, following the dismissal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
But "when other motions of no confidence failed, we were not facing the crisis that we are facing now", said the president of the African Christian Democratic Party, Kenneth Meshoe. 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.
There are mounting calls on social media for protests against Zuma later this week.
The Democratic Alliance has reacted strongly to the ANC's call on Thursday for its MPs to oppose a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma's leadership tabled by opposition parties in parliament.
The rand pared gains against the dollar and was 0.2 percent stronger at 13.5757 at 10 a.m.in Johannesburg on Wednesday, after strengthening as much as 1.1 percent before the report.
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There have been widespread calls for President Zuma to be recalled by the ruling party.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela interviewed Jonas after he said the Gupta family offered him Nhlanhla Nene's job as finance minister.
With Zuma scheduled to step down as party leader in December and as the nation's president in 2019, many ANC officials may believe it's not the time to remove him, said Daryl Glaser, a political science professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. But it has "since soured with Cosatu publicly expressing support for deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa".
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has been working to reassure South Africans about the state of the economy. For a no-confidence vote to pass, the opposition would have to secure a simple majority - meaning at least 50 votes from ANC lawmakers.
Mantashe also dismissed claims that the so-called "Intelligence Report" was the sole reason for the ministers' removal, saying the NWC had accepted that a relationship breakdown between Zuma and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was "sufficient explanation" for his firing.