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Zuma defending van Rooyen “unwise” - DA

Zuma defending van Rooyen “unwise” - DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed President Jacob Zuma’s defence of short-lived Finance Minister David van Rooyen, as “unwise”.

Speaking in Pretoria during the inaugural Presidential Press Corps meeting on Monday, Zuma stated that little-known African National Congress (ANC) MP van Rooyen was the best qualified person to hold the position in the portfolio, and that the decision to appointment him in favour of Nhlanhla Nene, was not hastily thought out.

“He’s a trained finance and economic comrade, more qualified than any Minister I have ever appointed there, in the finance issue,” Zuma said.

“People think Zuma just woke up one day and took a decision somewhere. They want to take decisions on behalf of the president, at times including some in the media”.

According to the ruling party, van Rooyen’s academic records include diplomas in advance business management and municipal governance, certificates in municipal governance, councilor development, municipal finance and economic and public finance, as well as a master’s degree in public development and management.

“The statement not only undermines the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, by suggesting he is second best, but is likely to make his job more difficult by undermining investor confidence ahead of the tabling of the budget on 24 February in Parliament,” DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier said in a statement.

Zuma’s decision to appoint van Rooyen in December last year resulted in the Rand dropping to lowest level ever against the US Dollar, while a severe backlash from the public and on social media caused him to swap van Rooyen with Gordhan four days later.