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Gordhan won't resign as MP ahead of Zuma no-confidence vote

Apr 06 2017 19:25
Rene Vollgraaff and Paul Vecchiatto, Bloomberg News

Johannesburg - Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan won’t resign as a Member of Parliament for the ruling African National Congress before this month’s debate of a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

“Not yet,” Gordhan said on Thursday in an interview in Cape Town when asked if he will step down from his post in the National Assembly as three other former members of Zuma’s executive have done.

“See you on the 18th” of April, he said when asked if he will be in Parliament on the day of a no-confidence vote in Zuma.

Former transport minister Dipuo Peters, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was the energy minister, and ex-deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas resigned as MPs, effective March 31, the National Assembly said in emailed statements. Zuma fired Gordhan, Peters, Joemat-Pettersson and Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle announced shortly after midnight the same day.

By resigning immediately after their removal, the former ministers and Jonas may ensure they receive pensions according to their previous positions in the administration instead of what they would receive as lawmakers should they retire later.

While opposition leaders have urged ANC lawmakers to vote in line to their conscience, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday its member won’t be allowed to oppose Zuma. The rules of parliament don’t allow for a secret ballot. The ANC hold 62% of the seats in the National Assembly.

The ANC is allowed to fill those seats before the motion, according to parliamentary rules. The motion requires 201 votes to pass, the rule book stipulates.

Zuma’s decision to fire Gordhan and make 19 other changes to his Cabinet drew widespread criticism, prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade South Africa’s credit rating to junk and weakened the rand.

“We didn’t need the downgrade, we just gave it to ourselves,” Gordhan said on Thursday.

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