By Mmusi Maimane MP, Leader of the Democratic Alliance:
Tonight’s announcement by President Zuma that he has fired Nhanhla Nene as Finance Minister is a reckless and dangerous move that further damages our country’s economy. Accompanied by no reasons for such a drastic move, one can only conclude that tonight’s action is yet another example of how President Zuma puts himself first and the country second.
It is common knowledge that Nhanhla Nene sought to reign in excessive government spending and was causing too much of a blockage for President Zuma in respect of the nuclear procurement deal and SAA. President Zuma has made one thing very clear tonight: if you stand in my way as Finance Minister and seek to introduce fiscal prudence, you will find yourself redeployed and cast aside. A Zuma ANC government has no regard for sensible finance policy that puts South Africa first.
Tonight’s firing of Nhanhla Nene has already had profoundly negative effects on the rand which has plummeted since news of the announcement broke. This is sure to make the plight of the unemployed in South Africa even more difficult.
The appointment of David van Rooyen as Finance Minister provides no assurance that our economy is in safe hands. The fact that President Zuma waited until after last Friday’s rating assessments to make this decision shows that he knew this was a bad decision.
By President Zuma’s own admission, Mr Nene “has done well […] during a difficult economic climate”, so it makes absolutely no sense for him to be fired.
President Zuma has again proven himself to be a President incapable of making the right decisions to set South Africa on a path to increased economic growth and job creation.
At this time, our country requires strong economic leadership. Tonight’s decision is the complete opposite.
As the DA, we will subject Minister van Rooyen to close oversight as he begins his tenure. And we will intensify our efforts to bring change to South Africa. Change that brings strong leadership and a government that puts South Africa and its people first.