Zuma again survives impeachment as ruling party stands by him

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"The Presidency respects the right of South Africans to protest peacefully as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic".

Following President Jacob Zuma's controversial cabinet reshuffle last week, the bishops' conference in South Africa has said that their country's leader should "earnestly reconsider his position". It says there were no injuries.

The firing of Gordhan, who was widely considered an effective, honest steward of the economy, further alarmed many South Africans. "People saying we had to apologise were very economical with the facts", Mantashe said.

The ANC national working party met on Tuesday, agreeing to support Mr Zuma and accusing its Communist Party (SACP) ally of leaking details of a bilateral meeting to the media, which the SACP has strongly denied.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa called the dismissal of Gordhan "totally unacceptable" and condemned "greedy and corrupt people" in a broadside clearly aimed at Zuma. Aside from noting that fictitious SMS's were doing the rounds, Outa also made mention of the newly installed Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, who this week said that police should "meet fire with fire".

Parliament will vote on the no confidence motion against Zuma on April 18.

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Gordhan was dropped as part of a major cabinet reshuffle which left some in the ANC leadership questioning whether Zuma should remain as president. Similar bids have failed to muster the needed votes to oust Zuma in the past.

South Africa's rand has tumbled more than 12 percent since March 27 when Zuma ordered Gordhan home from overseas meetings with investors.

Jonas was at the center of the state capture scandal after revealing that he was approached by friends of the president, the Gupta family, with an offer to be finance minister - on condition that he assist them in securing billions of rands' worth of government contracts. A nationwide protest is planned for Friday amid increasing calls for the president to step down.

South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has received the backing of firebrand Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party to table the motion of no confidence against Zuma for the reshuffle. If only one of the other two agencies follows suit, big global investors like pension funds will be obliged to dump their South African government debt, and the government will be unable to raise loans overseas.

Political analysts were not surprised by the ruling party's stance Wednesday.

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