Just two days ago, President defended his reasons for appointing former Finance Minister Van Rooyen. According to Zuma, Rooyen was the most qualified finance minister he has ever appointed. President Zuma made this known at the inaugural meeting of the presidential press corps on Monday.
“That thing caused such a havoc. It caused such havoc and people think Zuma just woke up one day and and took a decision. Some say he was told by some people (to appoint Van Rooyen as finance minister in December).”
“You know Van Rooyen is my comrade, MK (Umkhontho we Sizwe) for that matter – where I come from. He’s a trained finance and economic comrade, more qualified than any minister I have ever appointed there, in the finance issue. Imagine if I had appointed a fellow who looks after cattle at Nkandla as finance minister?” Zuma said on Monday.
But, what happened in the parliament on Wednesday leaves one with doubts as to if Vooyen was really accepted by South Africans when he was appointed as finance minister.
We will recall that Gordhan was South Africa’s finance minister between 2009 and 2014. He was later replaced by Nhlanhla Nene. Unfortunately, Nene was axed by Zuma in December to make way for little known Van Rooyen. In December 2015, Van Rooyen was removed as finance minister just four days after his appointment to the critical portfolio.
Des van Rooyen’s abortive tenure as finance minister was mocked in parliament today as he was mentioned during Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s #2016Budget speech. Members of Parliament really had a nice time laughing at the former finance minister.
But, when his predecessor in the finance portfolio‚ Nhlanhla Nene was mentioned, he received a warm and prolonged applause. Apparently, Nene’s removal from the finance portfolio created shocking waves across South Africa. His removal saw the rand diving to new lows as there was extreme nervousness in the financial sector.
Van Rooyen was the whip of Parliament’s standing committee on finance, and also served as whip of the economic transformation cluster.
On Monday, Zuma met with the Presidency’s summit, senior journalists and correspondents at the Union Buildings. He said that finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech to Parliament on Wednesday will be coming at a difficult economic period. President Zuma said;
“This budget represents very good discussions that have taken place within government and different sectors. It’s being presented under very difficult conditions. You must also agree that it’s been a number of years that we have been presenting budgets that are not presented when the economy is thriving and booming”.
“It has been quite a difficult process, particularly this time around. It looks like there has been some bubbles globally, economically that have not helped what was beginning to be the light at the end of the tunnel. The situation is a bit unstable and therefore the exercise is to produce a budget that is balanced.”