In what looks like an attempt at damage control before the markets open, President Jacob Zuma announced on Sunday night that Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Pravin Gordhan will take over his former job as Minister of Finance.
This follows the dramatic removal of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene late on Wednesday December 9, which led to a dramatic weakening of the local currency and a R169 billion drop in share values on the JSE.
The rand also recovered in spectacular fashion after the news broke. The exchange rate appreciated from R15.88 to R15.04 against the dollar.
Calls for Zuma’s removal have been circulating on social media in the wake of Nene’s sacking and more than one march is being organised in support of these calls. At 21:34 on Sunday night the Presidency issued a statement in which Zuma says he received many representations to reconsider his decision.
Reuters reports that Gordhan will address a news conference on Monday.
UPDATE: The office of President Jacob Zuma says Gordhan will not be sworn in on Monday because he is already a minister, Reuters reports.
Here is the full statement released by the presidency:
Announcement of New Ministers of Finance and Cogta
On the 9th of December 2015, I announced the appointment of a new Minister of Finance, Mr David van Rooyen.
I have received many representations to reconsider my decision.
As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views.
In this regard, I have, after serious consideration and reflection, taken the following decision;
I have appointed Mr Pravin Gordhan, the current Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as the new Minister of Finance.
Minister Gordhan will return to a portfolio that he had held proficiently during the fourth administration.
He will lead government again in the following;
- Ensuring an even stronger alignment between the Budget and the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) in the interest of stimulating more inclusive growth and accelerated job creation while continuing the work of ensuring that our debt is stabilised over the medium term.
- Promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence that has characterised our management of public finances since the dawn of freedom.
- Working with the financial sector so that its stability is preserved under the broad umbrella of the Twin Peaks reform.
- Ensuring that the National Treasury is more acceptable to all sections of our society.
- Adherence to the set expenditure ceiling while maintaining a stable trajectory of our debt portfolio, as set out in the February 2015 Budget.
COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
I have also decided to appoint the current Minister of Finance, Mr David van Rooyen, as the new Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Mr Van Rooyen, a former Executive Mayor, will also be bringing to COGTA the finance and economic sector background gained in serving in the Finance Portfolio Committee and Economic Transformation Cluster as whip in National Assembly. He has been mandated to take forward the Back to Basics programme and further improve cooperation between the three spheres of government.
I wish both Ministers all the best in their new deployments.
See what South Africans had to say: