Mcebisi Jonas resigns as ANC MP

Allies Abandon South Africa President Jacob Zuma

South Africa's largest trade union and ruling African National Congress (ANC) party ally Cosatu, will meet President Jacob Zuma "as soon as possible" at his request.

The rand fell three percent against the United States dollar following Monday night's downgrade.

On the agenda was the Cabinet reshuffle, the economic downgrade by Standard & Poor's, as well as calls for Zuma to resign, Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said. Ramaphosa had called Zuma's reasons for firing Gordhan "unacceptable".

Two former members of President Jacob Zuma's administration resigned as lawmakers for the ruling ANC before this month's debate of a motion of no confidence in the nation's leader.

The rand pared gains against the dollar and was 0.2 percent stronger at 13.5757 at 10 a.m.in Johannesburg on Wednesday, after strengthening as much as 1.1 percent before the report.

"While we hear and understand the frustrations of some members of the ANC top six, we hope they have a renewed appreciation of the concept of a meaningful consultation now that they have experienced it themselves", he said.

It has openly backed Zuma's deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who led Cosatu during the anti-apartheid struggle, to succeed him in 2019 when the president must stand down. He told the media that the downgrade to junk status was a setback, but that people should not be despondent.

South Africa's president has responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness".

A report by a constitutionally-mandated watchdog a year ago said the Guptas influenced Zuma in choosing government positions.

The reshuffle, which saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan being sacked, put South Africa's fiscal and growth outcomes at risk, the agency said.

"I want to assure all South Africans that the economy is critical to us the government".

Nomura analyst Peter Attard Montalto said Zuma would survive the showdown talks going on for a second day at the ANC's headquarters, saying although political figures were demanding Zuma resign, his support in the party was solid.

"Comrade Jonas has served both as deputy minister and MP with absolute distinction and dedication", the office of the ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, said.

Gigaba said on Monday he would pursue "tough and unpopular choices" to oversee a redistribution of wealth to the black majority, a stance echoing recent comments by Zuma.

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