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Controversial reshuffle was meant to add renewed energy into Cabinet and the executive: Zuma

APRIL 5, 2017
Controversial reshuffle was meant to add renewed energy into Cabinet and the executive: Zuma

Speaking on Tuesday in Pretoria during the launch of the Trans Africa Locomotive, President Jacob Zuma defended his decision to fire former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy and former Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Mcebisi Jonas, saying the controversial reshuffle was meant to re-energise his Cabinet with young people.

Last week, President Zuma fired Gordhan and his Deputy, former Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Mcebisi Jonas, as well as Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, and Public Service and Administration Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodiwhen, as he made changes to the National Executive "in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness".

“We are proud of having added many young Ministers which is an investment into the future of government leadership," Zuma said.

“If we do not enable our young MPs to gain experience now, we may battle in future with leadership and governance experience within the national executive. With regards to the Finance portfolio, we reiterate that while the political leadership has changed, government’s overall policy orientation remains the same as derived from the governing party.”

He also said that he has directed new Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, and his Deputy, Sifiso Buthelezi, to immediately prioritise unity, peace, cohesion and stability within the Finance portfolio.

“Minister Gigaba and his team will also be reaching out to the international investor community urgently to assure them that South Africa remains a stable, reliable and competitive investment destination. They will build on the good work that has been done thus far,” President Zuma said.

He assured South Africans that government will do everything possible to promote cohesion, unity and efficiency in government.

“It is also more important than ever now that we unite as a country and work together in light of the unrelenting socio-economic challenges that we face,” President Zuma said.

Government will continue to work with business and labour to take forward the work of the CEO Initiative that was established last year to reignite growth, while also strengthening the Presidential Business Working Group which interacts with all components of business. 

The CEO Initiative Fund stimulates entrepreneurship and supports the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). With SMEs widely acknowledged to be key drivers of job creation and economic activity, the fund invests in high-potential entrepreneurs and SMEs, and will provide them with access to a cohort of experienced mentors. 

However, opposition parties are gearing up for another attempt to remove the President, through a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Speaker, Baleka Mbete, is yet to announce a date when the motion will be debated - Parliament is currently in recess. 

Meanwhile, the Save South Africa movement, which held a rally in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon, said they are planning "the biggest march Zuma will ever see" this Friday.

Social media has also been awash with messages calling on South Africans to participate in a national shutdown on Friday 7 April 2017 - government has already dismissed the calls for a national shutdown saying that Friday is going to be regarded as a normal working day.

Watch highlights from the Save South Africa rally in Port Elizabeth

---additional reporting SAnews.gov