South Africans face uncertain future as Zuma “reshuffles” Gordhan
South Africa’s new ministers and deputy ministers are being sworn in this Friday afternoon, according to a statement issued by the Office of the President in South Africa. This follows in the wake of a late-night cabinet shuffle which effectively relieved South Africa’s finance minister, Pravin Gordhan from his position.
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma used the cabinet shuffle to replace Gordhan with Malusi Gigaba.
The media in South Africa reported that the move pushed the rand more than 3% weaker while yields on South Africa’s dollar-denominated sovereign debt rose as fears surfaced again of a sovereign credit rating downgrade on South African bonds. When SA bonds slip another notch, they will be so-called junk bonds.
But support for Zuma’s move was not universal. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe was quoted as saying in a radio interview that the process followed to axe Gordhan and eight other ministers made him “jittery and uncomfortable”.
“We were given a list that was complete, and in my own view as a secretary I felt like this list has been developed somewhere else and was given to us to legitimise it,” Mantashe told Talk Radio 702.
South Africa’s Banking Association said changing the finance minister and deputy finance minister raised “alarming concerns” over fiscal discipline.
The South African Communist Party said the firing of Gordhan who was respected by investors locally and abroad as a champion of fiscal responsibility, risked triggering the looting of treasury.
Leading South African private sector chief executives said on Friday that Gordhamns dismissal would have severe consequences for the economy and was a setback to the work done to avoid a credit ratings downgrade. “It raises question marks about President Zuma’s leadership and the motives behind this cabinet reshuffle,” said director at Political Futures Consultancy Daniel Silke.
“Corruption is out of control, more than 9 million desperate South Africans have no jobs, and now, instead of taking action to protect our economy, President Zuma has fired our Minister of Finance, again” said the Democratic Alliance in a strongly-worded statement issued Friday morning.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said they are the only political party that has grown in every election since 1994.
On Thursday, Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters approached the Constitutional Court in South Africa for the impeachment of Zuma. This was before the President dropped his cabinet bombshell.
Rumours abound on Friday with some claiming ten South African ministers threatened to resign after the cabinet reshuffle.