After just four days, David van Rooyen has been removed from his position as South Africa’s Finance Minister as President Jacob Zuma reinstated former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to the post. This after he stunned the nation last week when he sacked Nhlanhla Nene in a much contested move that saw the value of the rand depreciate substantially, dipping below R16 to the US dollar.
Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commented and said that it is a relief to have Gordhan back in the job of Minister of Finance, but the question that remains to be answered is how much damage has already been done?
“Whichever way we look at it, the world will see three Ministers of Finance in a week as a clear indication of a nation that does not where it is going or how to get there. It was also clear that Gordhan was not back in his old job because of a sudden resurgence of wisdom in the Cabinet, but because of pressure from the people on social media, the sheer anger of people who have seen their life’s savings downgraded as well as the negative reaction of the market and the credit agencies. Add to that the near unanimous views of economic experts who were bewildered by the sheer folly of the sudden firing of Nene.”
This raised further questions about what happened in the three days between Minister one and Minster three.
“What decisions were taken during those three days? Did we really commit ourselves to a nuclear programme we cannot afford,” Myburgh asked.
She said it was difficult to find any rational explanation for what had taken place “so perhaps we should look for answers in the irrational and be ready to challenge them. The courts have already thrown out Government decisions on the basis of their irrationality.”
Myburgh said it was important to understand that the financial industry and the economy of a country were built on confidence and once confidence was shattered it was not easily and never quickly repaired.
“The events of last week will haunt us for years and make it so much harder for both South Africans and Foreign entrepreneurs to invest in this country.”
“My big hope is that the tremendous outpouring of support for Mr Nene and now for Gordhan will give the right-thinking members of the Cabinet the courage to stand firm and resist being bullied into decisions that they know are not in the best interests of the country,” Myburgh added.