A mere four days after Nhlanhla Nene was fired as Minister of Finance and replaced by wannabe ideologue David van Rooyen, the Zuma Administration has reappointed finance portfolio veteran Pravin Gordhan.
According to a News24 report, the Presidency stated that “as democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views”. Therefore the government decided to not respond to the people’s views and reinstate Nene, but reappointed someone else entirely.
Van Rooyen will be taking over Gordhan’s previous portfolio as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
I must say, I did breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the person who said the ANC must not ‘sacrifice’ its policies “on the altar of market liberalism” will not continue in this vital portfolio. However, this does show that the Zuma Administration is to a large extent confused.
Gordhan, a communist, will at least not be perceived as a total puppet to the whims of Jacob Zuma. But as I have pointed out repeatedly, in our style and system of government, the President, and moreover the ruling party’s National Executive Committee, will always get what they want in the end. This is no doubt a response to the threat of several ‘#ZumaMustFall’ protests which have been scheduled for the coming days. The African National Congress, in all likelihood, does not want riots at the scale of the recent ‘#FeesMustFall’ fiasco to be directed at the President. We can only hope, however, that the resolve of South Africans to see substantive change in the structures of government will not wither away with this new development.
Here’s hoping that the rand will stabilize and regain some strength as the uncertainty over Van Rooyen subsides.
UPDATE (23:07 PM, 13 December 2015): The rand has apparently recovered to R14,40 per dollar in the last few minutes, down from the very worrying summit of R16,00 it reached briefly on Friday.