New finance minister was a 'terrible' mayor - Khutsong teacher

2015-12-10 16:11
David van Rooyen (News24)

David van Rooyen (News24)

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Nene axing shows complete ignorance of global markets - analyst

2015-12-10 13:29

Well known political economy analyst Daniel Silke joined us in studio to weigh in on the surprise removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene from the Treasury on Wednesday night. Nene will be replaced by the relatively unknown David van Rooyen. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg – The Khutsong community, west of Gauteng, where newly appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen was once mayor, is divided about how it felt about his new position.

Some residents were pleased to have one of their own in the country’s most important ministry, while others described it as the worst decision President Jacob Zuma had ever made.

According to a deputy principal of a primary school in the area, who wished not to be named, Van Rooyen's appointment was a grave mistake.

- Read: Four possible reasons why Nene was fired

'He was a disaster'

She said she remembered clearly how her community was in distress during Van Rooyen’s tenure as mayor.

"It was terrible. He was terrible. This town was in flames and he could not contain it. How can we expect him to handle to country's finances? I know Des.

"Although he is younger than I am, we grew up together. He was a disaster and I doubt he will be any better in the treasury department," she told News24.

In 2006, she said, the school had closed for almost a year because Van Rooyen, who is affectionately known as Des in his Khutsong community, could not restore community confidence in his leadership. "I could tell you stories about him. I hope he is not a disgrace to our community," she added.

Khutsong Democratic Alliance leader Vusi Mcunana told News24 that Van Rooyen had resigned as mayor of Merafong City in 2009 when the community became outraged by the government's plan to demarcate their area as part of the North West province, instead of Gauteng. 

Mcunana showed News24 traces of what was left of Van Rooyen’s old house, which angry protesters burnt down.

What used to be Van Rooyen's house (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

"Des and I have known each other a long time. What happened here was a mistake.

"He did not deserve to have his family home burn to ashes. He was a good leader and the municipality flourished under his leadership.

"We are proud to have him in the country's leadership. I believe he will be a great asset to the President Zuma’s cabinet and we have the utmost confidence in him."

'If he can do it, so can my kids'

Mcunana said since Van Rooyen had resigned from office, the Merofeng municipality financial status had never bounced back. He said they were dealing with incompetent leadership in the area and he missed Van Rooyen's days.

Van Rooyen's neighbours said they were excited that one of them would be in Parliament. Ntokozo Sibedi said she could not wait to see Van Rooyen's first budget speech.

"When I watch TV, I'll be watching with pride. If he can do it, so can my kids. He is a great example to kids in our community. I am truly happy," she said.

Zuma axed former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene on Wednesday night, replacing him with Van Rooyen.

Shortly after the announcement, the rand plummeted to a new low of R15 to the dollar. Zuma has yet to explain his reasons for firing Nene.

Van Rooyen was sworn into his new position on Thursday afternoon at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Read more on:    david van rooyen  |  nhlanhla ­nene  |  mahikeng  |  economy  |  politics  |  service delivery

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