Open letter to Zuma: 'We are gravely concerned'

2015-12-14 15:05

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Johannesburg - Before President Jacob Zuma redeployed Pravin Gordhan to the position of Finance Minister, saying he listened to the people of South Africa, a group of high-profile South Africans penned an open letter to him, lamenting his decision to axe former minister Nhlanhla Nene. 

The letter bears the names of former Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, former National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli, former University of SA vice-chancellor Barney Pityana and Shell SA chair Bonang Mohale among others.

It also mentioned Zuma's recent comments that the ANC comes before the country.

"We understand your party is important to you, but placing it before the country has left many of us doubting if the Constitution is in safe hands," the letter said. 

"We are mindful that we have no power to remove you from your position, but we would like you to know that leaders who take their citizens for granted do so at their own peril. In the end, citizens prevail."

Zuma announced last week Wednesday that he was removing Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and replacing him with David van Rooyen. 

The decision was met by outrage from the public, analysts, the media and opposition parties. 

On Sunday Zuma announced that he was bringing Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who previously served as finance minister, back to that position. 

Van Rooyen on the other hand would fill Gordhan's gap in the co-operative governance and traditional affairs ministry. 

Zuma said in his statement, "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 open letter said leadership was more than the authority of an office, and included the moral and ethical integrity of the person occupying an office.  

"We write to you with the sole intention of making you aware that we are gravely concerned about the manner in which you are governing us," the letter said. 

"We find many of your decisions detrimental to the interests of the people. We do not understand your authority to appoint or dismiss ministers as a licence for you to act against national interests."

It mentioned several developments that have "poisoned our political climate" including, "the wasteful and corrupt expenditure at your private residence in Nkandla; strained relations between the executive and the judiciary; problems with corporate governance at the SABC; financial and corporate governance challenges faced by a number of state-owned enterprises, including the SA Post Office and SAA, to name but two; and the financial crisis threatening to destroy our higher education institutions."

Read more on:    anc  |  pravin gordhan  |  jacob zuma  |  nene fired  |  politics

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