New finance minister: Criticism mounting


Criticism against President Jacob Zuma’s shock decision to remove Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister has continued gaining momentum with the FW de Klerk Foundation describing it as a “catastrophic turning point for South Africa’s ailing economy".

“Minister Nene has maintained probity in the management of state finances and tried, with courage and distinction, to hold the line against irresponsible state expenditure,” the foundation said in a statement.

“The President has a constitutional right to appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers. However, his decision to dismiss Minister Nene and to appoint in his place an inexperienced and virtually unknown backbencher, David van Rooyen, is a matter for the deepest concern”.

On Wednesday evening, Zuma announced that van Rooyen would replace Nene in a move widely slammed by opposition parties as irrational and reckless.

“It is common knowledge that Nene sought to reign in excessive government spending and was causing too much of a blockage for President Zuma in respect of the nuclear procurement deal and SAA,” Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said.

“President Zuma has made one thing very clear tonight: if you stand in my way as Finance Minister and seek to introduce fiscal prudence, you will find yourself redeployed and cast aside”.

In a similar reaction, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Zuma merely appointed van Rooyen as he is unlikely to offer any resistance when asked “to do [the] wrong things]”.

“van Rooyen will be prepared to even approve further upgrades to Zuma’s Nkandla home by putting a private zoo that has exotic animals like domesticated tigers,” Ndlozi said.

“Nene refused to give South African Airways (SAA) guarantees and bailout when Zuma’s girlfriend and chairperson [Dudu Myeni] of the board requested it. Nene also refused to buy Zuma a new luxurious private jet and declined to grant Zuma’s staff exemptions from using expensive hotels and flying first class”.

He continued, “Above all, Nene was reluctant to approve the country’s new nuclear deal which Zuma wanted expedited so he can benefit before his term as president ends. A decision to change a person that presides over the treasury of the country must come with substance, be predictable and not come as a shock”.

In a strongly worded reaction, Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, said Zuma’s appointment of van Rooyen has “stabbed the economy in the heart”.

“ANC ministers, deputy ministers and MPs are aptly being described as puppets. Zuma jiggles the string as the puppet master and the puppets in the ANC move exactly as he manipulates them,” Bloem said.

“Ever since Zuma became President, MPs and ministers have put on metallic branks on their heads and faces and have stayed mum on all issues except when praising him or defending him in spite of his crass remarks, ignorant statements and poor judgment. Zuma and his puppets have sunk the economy. His latest move is nothing short of treason”.


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