The move, widely anticipated since the beginning of the week, followed the shock recalling of Gordhan and Jonas from an international investor roadshow in London.
In a statement, the Presidency confirmed that Gordhan had been axed as finance minister and that Malusi Gigaba, formerly the Minister of Home Affairs, replaced him.
Sfiso Buthelezi, as earlier speculated, was named Deputy Finance Minister, replacing Mcebisi Jonas.
Other notable changes to Zuma’s Cabinet included the appointment of Tokozile Xasa as the new Minister of Tourism, replacing Derek Hanekom, as well as that of Joe Maswanganyi as the new Minister of Transport, replacing Dipuo Peters.
Earlier on, Zuma called an urgent meeting with members of the ANC’s top brass at his presidential home Mahlambandlopfu in Pretoria. This sparked intense speculation that a reshuffle was imminent.
The SA Communist Party had also confirmed earlier on that the president had informed the party, along with the ANC’s top leaders, that he intended to fire Gordhan and Jonas.
The SACP was unimpressed by this, particularly because of the risk of economic instability.
Zuma based his reasons from wanting Gordhan and Jonas gone on an intelligence report which alleged the duo had intended to use the now cancelled roadshow to meet with people opposing the State.
The EFF has since rubbished the report, saying it was a fabrication and not coherent.
The party has also moved to impeach Zuma, filing legal papers with the Constitutional Court on Thursday.
“Tomorrow is exactly one year since the Concourt handed down its historic judgment in the EFF’s Nkandla application. Since then we have made numerous appeals and wrote several letters to the speaker of Parliament. All have fallen on deaf ears and have been met with violence by Parliament on EFF MPs.
“We approach the Constitutional Court as a last resort based on the belief that Zuma’s conduct around the Nkandla matter, both inside and outside of Parliament, renders him unfit to hold the high office of president of the Republic of South Africa,” the EFF said.
The Democratic Alliance meanwhile, announced it would table a vote of no confidence in Zuma. This is the fifth one the party has requested thus far. Parliament has since confirmed that it was aware of the motion.