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Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle berated by opposition

By Charl Bosch - Dec 14, 2015
Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle berated by opposition

Opposition parties have lashed out at President Jacob Zuma following his shock decision to replace newly appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen, with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Pravin Gordhan.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the Presidency announced that van Rooyen, who replaced Nhlanhla Nene last Wednesday to widespread criticism, would be moved to the position of Cogta with Gordhan returning to the Finance portfolio he was removed from in May last year.

“I have received many representations to reconsider my decision (of van Rooyen’s appointment). As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” the Presidency quoted Zuma as saying.

Speaking in a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma is playing a high risk version of Russian roulette with “South Africa’s economy and future”.

“It is quite clear that the President did not anticipate the damage his decision would do to South Africa’s economy nor the backlash he would receive both from the public and from inside the tripartite alliance,” Maimane said, referring to the Rand dropping below R16/$ shortly after Nene’s removal.

“Our currency has reached record lows, our banks have lost billions on the JSE and the confidence of investors and ratings agencies has plummeted. South Africa cannot continue to be led by a flip-flopping President who has complete disregard for the well-being of the country and its citizens”.

Maimane added while the party welcomes Gordhan’s return to the portfolio, his re-appointment “merely came as a result of Zuma bowing to internal pressure”.

“The criticism he has received both inside and outside the ANC shows that he is a President who has lost internal control of his party and who no longer enjoys public support,” Maimane said.

“There was no need for South Africa to have had to endure the effects of the poor, irrational decision made on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it is the poor and unemployed who will bear the brunt of what the President has done”.

In a similar reaction, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said Zuma’s announcement has reduced the country to a “banana republic”.

“No amount of explanation can save the ANC from the embarrassment and the joke they have put the entire country through,” Ndlozi said.

“Zuma is a humiliation and disaster for South Africa, who prioritises personal aspirations at the expense of the country. The ruling party should now appreciate that the country is more important than the personal interests of one individual”.

Labelling Zuma as a “walking disaster”, Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the President has again exposed himself as “a clueless and floundering head of state”.

“President Zuma is such a disaster that his remaining in office will continue to impact South Africa very negatively - the effects of which will last for a long time. His recall can no longer be delayed,” Bloem said.

Reaction to the announcement has also gone viral on social media with the hashtag #ZumaMustStillFall trending at number three on twitter.