Outrage over Zuma's order to Gordhan, Jonas

2017-03-27 15:44
President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's instruction to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas to immediately return home from an investor roadshow in the UK and US has raised eyebrows among the opposition and civil society.

"The instruction to cancel the international investor roadshow without explanation is so bizarre that it appears, at best, calculated to humiliate the minister or, at worst, to suggest that the minister is about to be fired in a Cabinet reshuffle," DA MP David Maynier said.

Earlier on Monday, the Presidency issued a statement to say the two had been instructed to come home. With no reason made public, there had been widespread speculation.

Maynier said Zuma needed to explain his instruction because it could not have come at a worse time as the ministers were trying to restore investor confidence in South Africa.

Cope spokesperson Pakes Dikgetsi interpreted the instruction as "hideously vindictive".

"What is it that's so urgent that Zuma cannot wait for the ministers to return from a planned international programme?" he asked.

The one-sentence statement issued by the Presidency read: "President Jacob Zuma has instructed the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas to cancel the international investment promotion roadshow to the United Kingdom and the United States and return to South Africa immediately."

Equal Education said the Gordhan and Jonas combination was preventing looting at the Treasury.

"It is clear to us that Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas have held the line on important questions of principle such as the criminality in the ongoing Sassa scandal, the unaffordable nuclear deal, the collapse of SARS as a flagship state institution, and wasteful expenditure and mismanagement in departments such as Water Affairs and Forestry, and at SAA," Equal Education said. 
Zuma had a constitutional duty to recall numerous ministers who had proven themselves incompetent, arrogant and corrupt.

"Gordhan and Jonas are not among these," the organisation said.

Save South Africa said the slump of the rand against the US dollar in the aftermath of Zuma’s announcement constituted a form of economic sabotage.

 “It is a sign of extremely weak leadership and completely unsettles perceptions of South Africa's stability, as can be seen in the way the rand has tumbled on foreign exchange markets.”

A rapidly depreciating rand had a massive impact on the South African economy, and its ability to effect economic transformation, whether radical or not. The ultimate victims would be the poor, and Zuma had to be held accountable for his style of politics, it said in a statement.

Read more on:    pravin gordhan  |  jacob zuma

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