Pretoria - Cabinet was in the dark regarding the sacking of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Friday.
“This is a post Cabinet briefing and Cabinet happened on Wednesday. At the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting, there was no new finance minister and there was no way we could have predicted,” Radebe told reporters in Pretoria.
“I don’t think Cabinet had an idea that there was going to be a reshuffle because this was the president’s prerogative,” he said.
David Van Rooyen replaced Nhanhla Nene, who was sacked on Wednesday evening by President Jacob Zuma. The move was condemned by many, with some questioning the logic behind Zuma's decision.
“I have decided to remove Mr Nhlanhla Nene as minister of finance, ahead of his deployment to another strategic position,” Zuma said in a statement.
Zuma said that Nene had done well since his appointment as minister of finance during a difficult economic climate.
- Read more: 4 possible reasons why Nene was fired
Van Rooyen served as the Whip of the Standing Committee on Finance and as Whip of the Economic Transformation Cluster.
He was also a former executive mayor of Merafong Municipality and a former North West provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association.
There has been speculation that more reshuffles were on the cards with Radebe, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande and Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies said to be in the firing line.
Radebe however refused to comment on the issue, and said the decision ultimately rested with Zuma.
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi jumped in to respond to the question.
“At no stage is Cabinet ever told if there is going to be a reshuffle. We learn about it as you do. It is never announced to Cabinet. We are appointed as ministers at the behest of the president and we are removed if he decides otherwise he does,” he said.