08:03 am
23 October 2016

Zuma Playing Russian Roulette with SA’s Economy – Mmusi Maimane

Tonight’s announcement by the Presidency that Pravin Gordhan and David van Rooyen have swapped cabinet positions is an admission that Jacob Zuma was indeed reckless and irrational to have fired Nhanhla Nene on Wednesdayevening.

It is common sense to have in Cabinet a proven finance minister who brings fiscal discipline to the government. And we trust Minister Gordhan will continue to hold the line of former Minister Nene in respect of SAA and the nuclear build procurement deal.

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.

Reports today gave further credence to the theory that Nhanhla Nene was removed as Finance Minister because of his standing firm on the SAA Airbus deal on top of trying to delay the nuclear build procurement deal. It is very evident that Wednesday evening’s announcement was all about Jacob Zuma and not about what was in the best interests of South Africa.

President Zuma has been playing Russian Roulette with our economy and future as a country over the past five days. Our currency has reached record lows, our banks have lost billions on the JSE and the confidence of investors and ratings agencies has plummeted.

Whilst we welcome the appointment of Pravin Gordhan as a move to restore some confidence in South Africa’s economy, it appears that tonight’s announcement is merely a result of President Zuma having to bow 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.

The cost of Jacob Zuma to our country has now reached its ceiling. Our country cannot continue to be led by a flip-flopping President who has complete disregard for the well-being of the country and its citizens.

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.

Now more than ever, change is needed in our country. And next year is our opportunity to start effecting that change when we all have the opportunity to register and vote in the municipal elections.

Statement issued by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, 13 December 2015