President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman Dr Bongani Ngqulunga has dismissed the reports that the president is about to reshuffle his deputy.
Dr Ngqulunga said there was no basis for reports that the South African president would axe his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, speculation about which has weighed on the currency and bonds.`
“It’s rumours and gossip, and we don’t comment on them at all,” Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga told Reuters.
Ramaphosa, a trade unionist-turned-business tycoon, is viewed as the most likely rival candidate to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairwoman of the African Union, who is Zuma’s pick for the leadership and is the president’s ex-wife.
He has recently stepped up criticism of Zuma’s scandal-plagued government.
Asked in parliament on Thursday whether he might be sacked, Ramaphosa said only that he would accept the president’s decision if he lost his job. On Friday, a spokesman for the deputy president said: “We are aware of the speculation, but it is just speculation.”
Trade union federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP), both partners in the ANC’s ruling alliance, have endorsed Ramaphosa, 64, for the leadership.
President Zuma reshuffled his cabinet for the second time in seven months on Tuesday, sacking SACP boss Blade Nzimande and replacing the energy minister.