Johannesburg - Removing Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is a reckless and dangerous move, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday.
The move further damaged the country's economy, he said in a statement.
"Accompanied by no reasons for such a drastic move, one can only conclude that tonight’s action is yet another example of how President Zuma puts himself first and the country second.
"President Zuma has made one thing very clear tonight: if you stand in my way as finance minister and seek to introduce fiscal prudence, you will find yourself redeployed and cast aside."
Maimane said it was common knowledge that Nene tried to reign in excessive government spending which caused a block when it came to the nuclear procurement deal and SA Airways.
Earlier on Wednesday, Zuma announced that Nene would be replaced by ANC MP David van Rooyen.
Nene was to be deployed to another "strategic position" which would be announced in due course.
Maimane said Van Rooyen's appointment provided no assurance that the country's economy was in safe hands.
"President Zuma has again proven himself to be a president incapable of making the right decisions to set South Africa on a path to increased economic growth and job creation.
"At this time, our country requires strong economic leadership. Tonight’s decision is the complete opposite," he said.
The DA has vowed to subject Van Rooyen to close oversight.