Zuma Fires New Finance Minister, Appoints Pravin Gordhan

Barely days after firing Nhlandhla Nene as finance minister and appointing unknown David van Rooyen in his place – and sending the South African economy into a downward spiral –  President Jacob Zuma has fired Van Rooyen and appointed Pravin Gordhan to fill the post.

The presidency issued a statement on Sunday night confirming the appointment.

“I have appointed Pravin Gordhan, the current minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs as the new minister of finance. Minister Gordhan will return to a portfolio that he had held proficiently during the fourth administration.”

Van Rooyen was appointed on Wednesday and sworn in on Thursday amid stunned reaction from the public, opposition leaders, business leaders and overseas traders. The initial announcement by Zuma did not say why he was making the change, although he said later that Nene was taking a position at the BRICS bank. The rand quickly fell to almost R16 to the dollar, and a campaign of discontent against Zuma, #ZumaMustFall, quickly took root on social media.

Zuma said that after he appointed Van Rooyen, “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.

“In this regard, I have, after serious consideration and reflection, taken the following decision [to appoint Gordhan].”

Gordhan took over the post of Minister of Finance from Trevor Manuel in 2009 and served in the position until 2014.

Van Rooyen will take up Gordhan’s vacant post, the presidency said.