South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has grounded all ministers and deputy ministers as talks of an imminent cabinet reshuffle intensify.

There is an expectation that Ramaphosa will remove cabinet ministers who are implicated in state capture in an effort to clean up his government’s image.

Those facing the chop are said to include Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen.

The Presidency informed cabinet ministers this week that they would not be permitted to travel overseas on official duty until further notice.

Ministers and their deputies told the media  that the memo from the Presidency also said they should prioritise service delivery and focus on issues affecting their departments.

The move was widely seen as the clearest indication yet that Ramaphosa planned to wield his axe soon.

Those who received the memo said ministers who had trips already approved by former president Jacob Zuma were instructed to resubmit their travel requests and articulate why it was necessary for them to leave the country. The memo was distributed at the most recent cabinet meeting.

“They must individually plead their case and then the president will decide,” a source said. The president has to approve official international trips by ministers.

Ramaphosa has been in office for just over a week, after Zuma resigned from office.

The understands that Ramaphosa met with the ANC top six on Friday night to consult them about the changes he plans to make in the cabinet.

Another meeting was scheduled for last night to finalise the list of names. Insiders said they expected Ramaphosa to announce his new cabinet today or tomorrow.

Ramaphosa’s acting spokesman, Tyrone Seale, said any changes to the national executive would be communicated to the public when and if they happened.

While Ramaphosa deliberated, his deputy in the ANC, David Mabuza, seemed to have packed his bags as premier of Mpumalanga, a move that puts Ramaphosa in a corner and ups the pressure to appoint him as deputy president of the country.

On Friday, Mabuza delivered his farewell state of the province address. A few days earlier he had told his provincial cabinet he was ready to take up a role in the national government.

In his address on Friday, Mabuza said: “Part of the renewal and new dawn must manifest through the emergence of a new cohort of leadership cadres to take the struggles of our people forward. There is no doubt that this province has capable men and women that will rise to leadership demands of the present time.”

Provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu said the ANC in Mpumalanga was ready for Mabuza to be considered as Ramaphosa’s deputy.

However, he said, it was up to Ramaphosa to choose his second-in-command.

“If [Mabuza] is not given the responsibility of deputy president he will take up another responsibility on a national level. He said it’s time to focus on the country instead of focusing on one province,” Ndlovu said.

Mabuza’s spokesman, Zibonele Mncwango, confirmed that his boss told his subordinates in the provincial government that he would soon leave to take on a national role.

Mabuza has always been tight-lipped about his political game plan, but those around him said he had made it clear that his sights were set on the deputy presidency.

It is understood that two ANC top six leaders told Ramaphosa that they believed his deputy should be a woman.

This was narrowed down to two ministers, Naledi Pandor and Lindiwe Sisulu, neither of whom would be drawn on the matter.