The Mail & Guardian has reliably learned that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer Zweli Mkhize have vehemently opposed the removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Zuma is said to have proposed the name of Brian Molefe as Gordhan’s replacement to Luthuli House, but was rejected by the most senior leaders of the party.
It is understood that the proposal of Molefe as finance minister was similarly rejected by the South African Communist Party (SACP) in a meeting with Zuma on Monday night.
Zuma had intended to make the announcement of a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday but was warned that members of the top six would publicly voice their disagreement with the decision.
In the meeting with the top six, the president had presented concerns over Gordhan’s close relationship with “white monopoly capital” as the reason for the change.
The M&G understands as well that Zuma presented an intelligence report to party officials. The president is said to have presented a dossier alleging sinister intentions behind Gordhan’s scheduled meetings with prominent British and American bankers. The report is said to allege that Gordhan had planned to inform bankers that his ministry, and treasury are both united against Zuma.
The president reportedly furthered the claims that Gordhan would inform these bankers that the president was planning to axe his detractors from official positions.
The ANC’s top six were however not convinced.
Additional reporting by Pauli van Wyk.