South Africa's ruling party backs embattled president

Zuma welcomed civil society group SaveSA's plans to protest outside his office, saying it was their legal right to do so.

Politicians both within Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) and the DA decried the move as irresponsible in a country where unemployment is already at a staggering 26 percent and growth stagnated to just 0.3 percent past year.

"We won't recall President Jacob Zuma because opposition parties say so".

The DA will march in the commercial hub Johannesburg, while the South African Communist Party, a historic ally of the ANC which has also demanded that Zuma step down, will march in Pretoria alongside SaveSA. The calls were sparked by Zuma's decision to fire his finance minister and stack the cabinet with loyalists, which led to S&P Global Ratings cutting the nation's credit assessment to junk on April 3. "We wish him well", said Mhlauli. Peters cited ill-health as a reason for stepping down.

"We will abide by the decision of the ANC National Working Committee as announced by ANC Secretary General comrade Gwede Mantashe that the ANC does not and will not support this motion".

Since the reshuffle took place Zuma has also faced unprecedented criticism from within the former liberation movement, with leading ANC military veterans and former anti-apartheid activists adding their voices to the calls for his removal. Mantashe said the relationship between Zuma and Gordhan, who had feuded over the affordability of building nuclear power plants and the management of state-owned companies, had reached the point of "irretrievable breakdown".

President Jacob Zuma must be breathing a sigh of relief today following the acceptance of his explanation for his controversial sacking of the finance minister.

The speaker of parliament is considering recalling a joint sitting for a vote of no confidence put forward by the Democratic Alliance.

"We mean the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favor of South Africans, especially the poor", Zuma said in a speech to members of local government.

Similar votes have failed in the past. Zuma has denied any inappropriate influence on his selections, and the Guptas deny wrongdoing. He retains the full support of the leadership of at least five of the ANC's provincial structures, a large number of MPs in parliament, as well as the ANC women's and youth leagues.

Mantashe and Ramaphosa said it Zuma had used a dubious intelligence report to justify firing Gordhan and Jonas.

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

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