President Jacob Zuma has wielded the axe, firing Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, in one of his most dramatic moves during his time in the Union Buildings.

The President has announced 20 changes to his cabinet, with former ANC Youth League president Malusi Gigaba replacing Gordhan, while Sifiso Buthelezi will fill Jonas’s position.

Hanekom – a vocal critic of the President and who led motion of no confidence against Zuma in a recent ANC national executive committee meeting – has been replaced by Tokozile Xasa, while Peters has been sacked for Joe Maswanganyi.

On Thursday evening, Zuma called a meeting with the ANC’s top six in the capital.

Earlier it was reported that the Presidency expected to hold a press conference shortly – with a cabinet reshuffle expected to be announced. It’s understood the ANC also has a late-night press briefing planned.

Nine ministers and six deputies were reportedly summoned by Zuma after he met with the rest of the ANC’s top six leadership on Thursday evening.

The officials – ANC deputy Cyril Ramaphosa‚ chairperson Baleka Mbete‚ Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe‚ Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte and Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize – were called to a meeting at short notice to the presidential home, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, at 18:30.

Thursday’s meetings follows the president’s instruction on Monday for Gordhan and his deputy to return home from an investor roadshow abroad this week.

On Wednesday, Cabinet held a lengthy meeting, although government denied the ministers discussed a cabinet reshuffle.

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