South African President Jacob Zuma is reported to have fended off calls from within his own ruling ANC Party to resign, prompting a bounce in the fortune of the rand.

Gordhan's sacking has outraged opponents and some political allies of Zuma, undermining his authority as president, and threatens to split the African National Congress (ANC) that has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid.

Mr Zuma has been under growing pressure following a major cabinet reshuffle which included the sacking of respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Zuma himself, in his first public comments since he fired Gordhan, said that fiscal policies would be unchanged and that people should remain calm.

Zuma has survived calls to resign, at least for now. It came in the face of widespread criticism of Zuma's cabinet changes that prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation's credit rating to junk and weakened the rand.

South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has received the backing of firebrand Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party to table the motion of no confidence against Zuma for the reshuffle.

The ANC's chief whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu, said the motion was "not only disingenuous, but also highly unfortunate as they seek to suggest that ANC MPs are free agents open to all sorts of mischievous lobbying and manipulation by the opposition and other forces". Zuma's presidential term will finish in 2019.

Zuma could either be ousted by the ANC recalling him, or a vote of no confidence in parliament that has been scheduled for April 18.

Many analysts believe Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, were removed because of their anti-corruption activities and their refusal to loosen the treasury's purse strings to pay for Zuma's development plans, which they insisted the country could not afford.

The ultra-left EFF party said in a statement the Nkandla saga "renders him (Zuma) unfit to hold the high office of President".

Zuma‚ Gordhan‚ Jonas, newly-appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi are named as respondents in the urgent application.

Moody's put South Africa's ratings on review for a downgrade on Monday night, just hours after S&P's downgrade was announced.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has regretted the "unprecedented" development of top party officials publicly disagreeing with President Jacob Zuma.