TIMELINE: How South Africa got three finance ministers in four days

2015-12-14 13:13
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma.

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ALL THE INFO: Three finance ministers in four days

2015-12-14 12:03

On Sunday night President Jacob Zuma reappointed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, replacing David van Rooyen, who was sworn in four days ago. Watch what led up to this shock decision.WATCH

Johannesburg - The position of finance minister has controversially passed through three pairs of hands over the space of four days. Here is a timeline of how those few days, that left the economy reeling, played out: 

Wednesday December 9 2015: 

- At around 20:00 Zuma issues a statement saying: "I have decided to remove Mr Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance, ahead of his deployment to another strategic position."

- Zuma announces he has decided to appoint David van Rooyen, an MP and a former mayor of the Merafong local municipality as the minister of finance. 

- The president does not provide reasons for his decisions and speculation becomes rife as to why Nene was axed. 

- The rand dives in the aftermath of the announcement and goes down 1.39% against the dollar to R14.83/$.

- Opposition parties and analysts criticise Zuma's decision, while the ruling ANC says the president exercised his constitutional prerogative to appoint a new finance minister.

Thursday, December 10, 2015: 

- The rand continues to drop and briefly breaks through R16/$, before recovering to the high R15.70/$.

- Consternation grows over Zuma's decision, while more political analysts and economists predict this could push the country into economic "junk" status. 

- Possible reasons speculated for Nene's axing include his reigning-in of South African Airways (SAA) and its chair Dudu Myeni and his reluctance on the estimated R1 trillion nuclear deal 

- Van Rooyen is sworn in as the new minister of finance. 

- He says following his swearing-in "As you are all aware, mine is a colossal assignment coming at a time when the global economic outlook is not favourable, more especially for emerging markets... All economic indicators, as you are all aware, are pointing to the south. Now I must undertake in front of you, and the nation, that I will... ensure every policy is directed at creating favourable investment conditions, leading to the development of South Africa for all South Africans - not for the few."

- Van Rooyen says he would meet his new team at the National Treasury in due course. 

- He also says he would start proper engagements with the media and the nation and was planning to make the National Treasury more accessible to "demystify myths" about the department. 

- Well-known ANC member Shaka Sisulu breaks ranks and condemns the removal of Nene as finance minister.

Friday, December 11, 2015: 

- Calls for President Jacob Zuma to be removed from office top social media.

- #ZumaMustFall trending on Twitter, with many calling on the ANC to recall the president.

- A Facebook #ZumaMustFall event has also been created to announce a peaceful march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 16 at 10:00.

- ANC Youth League president Collen Maine says Nene is not so important that he can cause the rand to plummet.

- "It's not about Nhlanhla Nene, it's because of the recession we are in that the economy is not growing... and there are problems with the rand. He might be beautiful to others but he's not so beautiful that he can make the rand fall," Maine tells News24.

- President Jacob Zuma speaks out for the first time on the appointment of Van Rooyen.

- Explaining his decision in a statement, Zuma says the "urgency of the changes in the leadership of the National Treasury" was because nominations needed to be sent to Shanghai in terms of the head of the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank/BRICS Bank, which will be based in Johannesburg".

- Zuma says Nene had been nominated for the post.

- ANC veteran Barbara Hogan says Zuma has crossed the line and any ANC member worth his or her salt needs to speak out.

- "I certainly believe that if ANC members are worth their salt, they have to start looking very carefully and introspectively... about our roles in this organisation and what we are giving consent to by allowing this president to operate as though he is completely unaccountable," Hogan tells News24.

- The Presidency rejects reports in the media regarding speculation of a pending Cabinet reshuffle.


- Zuma comes to the defense of Myeni, who is also the chair of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

- The presidency says,  “Her relationship with the president is purely professional, and is based on the running of the Foundation.... Rumours about a romance and a child are baseless and are designed to cast aspersions on the president."

- In a previous interview with News24, Myeni, who is the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, said her relationship with the president was professional.


- Zuma re-appoints Co-operative Governance Minister and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan to position of finance minister. 

- Van Rooyen is appointed co-operative governance minister.

- Zuma says, "I have received many representations to reconsider my decision. As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views.”

- The rand recovers almost 80c to the US dollar following the announcement - this is a recovery of R15.09/$ from R15.89. 

- UDM leader Bantu Holomisa calls for Zuma to be recalled, saying, "It's clear President Zuma has lost control. He is actually panicking beyond comprehension as we speak."

- Other opposition parties, such as the Democratic Alliance say Zuma is playing "Russian roulette with the country’s economy", while the Economic Freedom Fighters says, "Effectively, the country has had three finance ministers in one week... If anyone still does not think we are in a Banana Republic, they cannot be helped."

Read more on:    pravin gordhan  |  david van rooyen  |  jacob zuma  |  nhlanhla ­nene  |  politics

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