President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a public meeting in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Thursday. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday opened up about former president Jacob Zuma's era at the helm, saying the removal of Pravin Gordhan as minister of finance ''tested his judgement".

Ramaphosa held a dialogue with white community members in Sandton on Thursday evening. He was asked to talk about a moment when his judgement was tested.

Ramaphosa said although Cabinet works as a collective where decisions are a consensus, his judgement was tested when Zuma removed Gordhan as finance minister based ''on a false'' intelligence report. 

''Gordhan was brought in after Nhlanhla Nene was fired and replaced by Des Van Rooyen ... and Gordhan did a fantastic job. He was removed on the basis of an intelligence report which according to me did not mean much.

"I myself, was worried when some intelligence report surfaced years ago saying I wanted to remove [former president [Thabo] Mbeki ... there again was Gordhan removed based on a report I felt was false.''

The president said he ''broke ranks'', spoke out and criticised Gordhan's removal.

''It was whether I kept quiet about something I believed was incorrect. I broke ranks with my president and spoke out. That was a difficult decision because doing so meant I could be fired ... fortunately, I wasn't fired.''

Gordhan is now minister of Public Enterprises. Zuma fired him in 2017 along with is then deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba.

African News Agency (ANA)