Johannesburg, Mar 31 (AFP) South African President Jacob Zuma has sacked his respected finance minister and made ten new cabinet appointments in a dramatic reshuffle widely seen as an attempt to control the selection of his successor. Also Read - COVID Alert: All About South African Coronavirus Variant That Has Travelled to UK

The ruling ANC party, which led the fight against apartheid and came to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994, was yesterday rocked by the clear-out of senior figures including finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Also Read - Cricket is Literally a Religion in India And South Africa: Sune Luus

The late-night move caused a sharp drop in the value of rand as investors reacted to concerns that Zuma, whose term in office has been tainted by corruption scandals, would now have a free hand over government finances. Also Read - India Saw ‘Super-spreader’ Coronavirus Strain in March-May, Says Expert

Gordhan, who is replaced by former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, was removed after a months-long battle with Zuma over government spending and control of the public purse.

Zuma said in a statement that the changes were “to bring about radical socio-economic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality.”

Gordhan has been supported by several senior ministers and many international investors, as well as being widely admired by ordinary South Africans and veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle.

He has campaigned for controlled spending and against corruption, but Zuma’s allies have accused him of thwarting the president’s desire to enact “radical economic transformation” tackling racial inequality.

Zuma is due to step down as head of the party in December, ahead of the 2019 general election.

He is seen as favouring his ex-wife, former African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed him, ahead of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.