While rumors fly about the possibility of having former Eskom Brian Molefe as South Africa’s new Finance minister, Minister Pravin Gordhan says “let’s wait and see”.
The minister who returned from the UK on Tuesday morning following President Jacob Zuma’s written orders, said about his controversial firing, that South Africans should remain calm on the matter.
The minister’s words on the matter brings to mind his words earlier where he noted that it was left for Zuma to decide whether or not he would be removed as the country’s head of treasury and Minister.
Zuma reportedly told senior leaders of the South African Communist Party (SACP) that he plans to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
According to report from three members of the SACP, Zuma told officials from the party during a meeting on Monday in Johannesburg, that he would have Gordhan fired after his return from the UK where he was to meet with investors.
But Gordhan who seems not to be bothered by the matter diverted to the need for the meeting with foreign investors saying he is more concerned about the affairs of the nation’s economy.
“The president is my boss so if he asks us to come back, we come back,” Gordhan says.
“There are many in government who want to do the right thing and make sure we keep our economy on track and keep our development moving in the right direction,” he added without elaborating.
Talk Radio 702 reported that Gordhan’s dismissal had already been discussed between Zuma and some top officials of the ruling party, including those parties allied to it.
“There is a lot of rumours about the future of the finance minister, they are still unsubstantiated at this time, it’s not set in stone,” a Treasury One currency dealer, Andre Botha, said regarding the rand’s volatility.
“I think the market is pulling back just on the fact that nothing was said about the rumours since then. I think people are sort of relaxing a bit.”
Gordhan returned to meet that court hearing over the closure of accounts belonging to the Gupta brothers, has started. The case has been a particular bone of contention between Zuma and his finance minister.
Gordhan says the Guptas have repeatedly asked him to intervene to reverse a decision by major banks to close some of the business accounts of the brothers’ Oakbay Investments, and in December last year, Gordhan asked the High Court to rule that he was not allowed to interfere in the banks’ decisions.
On this matter, the state attorney said Zuma had applied to be represented in the case as an interested party, but the court rejected his application.
Gordhan first served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014 and was reappointed by Zuma in December 2015 to calm markets spooked by the president’s decision to replace respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with a little-known politician.
But South African media reports suggest Zuma and Gordhan have an uneasy relationship, though the president has denied suggestions that he is “at war” with his finance minister.