OPINION: Gordhan’s firing – calculated power play and Russian influence

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President Jacob Zuma with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Herman Verwey/City Press)
President Jacob Zuma with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Herman Verwey/City Press)

Cape Town - What explains the allegedly irrational decisions taken by the South African government over recent days? Two explanations suggest themselves.

The first is that the decisions were not irrational, but part of a calculated power-play designed to further entrench the Zuma-aligned faction of the African National Congress (ANC). The second is that Mr Zuma took the decision to fire Pravin Gordhan under duress – and specifically Russian duress.

We are leaning towards the former explanation. In gaining control over National Treasury the Zuma-aligned faction of the ANC has strengthened its position within the tri-partite alliance. Some analysts have suggested that Mr Zuma may be recalled through a vote of no confidence in Parliament, but we do not think that such a move could succeed. 

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