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ANC backs Jacob Zuma, papering over divisions in South Africa

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South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the launch of a social housing project in Pietermaritzburg

COSATU has always been the president's staunch ally and stood by him when Zuma was reelected for another five years in 2014.

South Africa's largest opposition party has filed a court application against President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The trades union executive member said Zuma is no longer the "right person" to lead the country.

In his first public remarks about Thursday's midnight reshuffle, Mr Zuma yesterday also urged his Cabinet to reach out and reassure worldwide investors, following the dismissal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

The congress's demands came a day after Standard & Poor's financial company downgraded South Africa's credit rating to junk status, considering the cabinet reshuffle a division in the party.

The African National Congress won't vote against Zuma in a no-confidence motion in parliament that the main opposition parties have requested, Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told a briefing Wednesday in Johannesburg after a meeting of the ANC's National Working Committee.

The African National Congress acknowledged the growing calls for Zuma to resign, admitting to "serious and hard disagreement" over his sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week. The vote is scheduled for 18 April in the national assembly, where the ANC has a 62% majority.

The events that unfolded after the reshuffle had "created anxiety and undue confusion as a result of the discordant views, in particular of the National Officials of the ANC", Mantashe said, referring to the criticism directed at Zuma.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa chimed in, calling the sacking of Gordhan "totally unacceptable".

The sacking of Gordhan and Jonas sparked calls for Zuma to step down and threatened to split the ANC. A Public Prosecutor's State Capture dossier is gathering dust, while President Jacob Zuma and his elite group continue to build power and ransack state coffers.

The pair had clashed in recent months; with Gordhan under pressure from Zuma to increase government spending and borrowing that he says will help tackle racial inequality and widespread poverty. "The ANC wishes them well in their new roles and calls on South Africans to rally behind and support them in their quest to move our country forward", Mantashe said.

The minister's spokesman, Mayihlome Tshwete, provided the advisers' names on Twitter, saying he would announce other key appointments when finalised.

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