Zuma Pressed to Fire Errant South African Mining Minister – by Sam Mkokeli (Bloomberg News – September 8, 2016)


South African President Jacob Zuma is facing growing pressure from within the ruling party to fire Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane after his false statement about a cabinet decision to set up a judicial investigation into banking oversight bodies.

Zwane’s actions embarrassed the African National Congress, and the party’s top six officials, who include Zuma, need to discuss the minister’s dismissal, said two senior ANC leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Zwane said in a Sept. 1 statement that the cabinet authorized the inquiry after South Africa’s four biggest banks cut ties to the Gupta family, who’re friends of Zuma. The presidency repudiated Zwane’s account, saying it was “issued in his personal capacity,” and did “not reflect the position or views of cabinet, the presidency or government.”

Questioned by a lawmaker Wednesday on whether he would resign, Zwane said the decision “belongs to cabinet and not parliament.” Martin Madlala, the spokesman of the Department of Mineral Resources, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

Zwane’s statement stoked criticism that Zuma’s government lacks direction and is too heavily influenced by the Gupta family. Senior officials previously claimed the Guptas offered them cabinet posts. Zuma has also been implicated in numerous scandals, including a ruling by the nation’s top court that taxpayer money paid for an upgrade of his private home.

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