JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has resigned as a member of parliament, a week after President Jacob Zuma sacked him from the cabinet, the African National Congress said on Thursday.
Jonas was fired alongside finance minister Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet shake-up that triggered a credit ratings downgrade and rocked markets. The ruling ANC party has backed Zuma, and rejected calls for him to resign.
“Comrade Jonas has served both as Deputy Minister and MP with absolute distinction and dedication,” the office of the ANC Chief Whip said in a statement.
Jonas was an outspoken critic of government corruption.
He made headlines last year when he said that he had been offered the finance minister job by members of the Gupta family, Indian businessmen who have close ties with Zuma and have been accused of influence peddling.
Zuma and the Gupta family have denied any wrongdoing.
Dipuo Peters‚ former transport minister who lost her job in the cabinet reshuffle‚ also resigned as an ANC lawmaker, but analysts were not expecting a mass exodus.
“I don’t expect anymore resignations, certainly not a flood of resignations. Mr Jonas took a decision on a matter of principle,” NKC Africa Economics political analyst Gary van Staden said.
Zuma came under intense pressure this week after senior members of the ANC criticised his decision to sack Gordhan.
The party publicly backed Zuma after an ANC committee meeting aimed at airing difference on Wednesday, lowering the chances of him being forced out of office before his presidential term ends in 2019.