Gordhan's return: Will SA force Zuma to fall on sword? | Fin24
In partnership with

Gordhan's return: Will SA force Zuma to fall on sword?

Dec 14 2015 06:07
Alec Hogg

Johannesburg - South Africa’s young democracy is celebrating a famous victory tonight (Sunday), signalling a massive shift in the power base of the ruling ANC.

The supposedly all-powerful President Jacob Zuma has backtracked on his over-reaching decision to replace respected Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene with a malleable backbencher.

Nene’s old boss, Pravin Gordhan, has been reappointed to the key position. The backbencher has been relegated to the portfolio to which Gordhan was demoted by Zuma two years ago after demanding MPs tighten their belts by reducing their profligate spending. Subsequent to that, Zuma proceeded to dismantle the highly professional leadership team at the SA Revenue Services which Gordhan had assembled when commissioner.

The firing of Nene came shortly after he refused to sanction a demand by SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni which former SAA director Russell Loubser says was crony corruption by attempting to inject a third party to rake off millions from an agreement with Airbus.

Nene had also expressed doubt that South Africa could afford Zuma’s heavily criticised and highly suspicious $100bn nuclear power deal. Whether Zuma can survive this humiliating backtracking will become evident in the next few days. Many questions remain unanswered.

The 17 financial and property shares in the JSE’s Top 40 lost a combined R290bn in market value in the two sessions after Nene’s firing. Anything less than a massive rebound when the market reopens will be a signal investors have tired of institutionalised corruption in the name of BEE, and want concerted action, including Zuma’s head.

After this disaster, Zuma’s resignation would be the appropriate action by a rational leader of a properly functioning democracy. But Zuma is not rational – as the content of his speech on Wednesday night and subsequent trumped-up reasons for Nene’s “redeployment” clearly illustrated.

And although democracy has won this particular battle, more must be seen to be done for South Africa to regain its reputation as a “properly functioning” one. But at least tonight is start, a big jump in the right direction.

* For more in-depth business news, visit biznews.com or simply sign up for the daily newsletter.



Company Snapshot

BizNews Premium
Learn More