Gordhan Won't Quit South Africa Parliament Before Zuma VoteBy and
Two former ministers, one former deputy have resigned
Opposition parties’ no-confidence vote scheduled for April 18
Former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan won’t resign as a lawmaker for the ruling African National Congress before this month’s debate of a motion of no confidence in the nation’s leader who fired him last week.
“Not yet,” Gordhan said 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 President Jacob Zuma’s executive have done. “See you on the 18th” of April, he said when asked if he will be on 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 members of parliament, 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, party Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said 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 percent 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 as finance minister and make 19 other changes to his administration drew widespread criticism, prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation’s credit rating to junk and weakened the rand. The reshuffle have put policy continuity at risk, S&P said.
“We didn’t need the downgrade, we just gave it to ourselves,” Gordhan said on Thursday.
(An earlier version of this story was corrected to remove wrong information provided by parliament spokesman in sixth paragraph.)
— With assistance by Amogelang Mbatha