Zuma’s Gordhan recall: What we know so far
Qaanitah Hunter | 2017-03-27 16:48:24.0
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has claimed ignorance about the controversial decision by President Jacob Zuma to recall finance minister Pravin Gordhan from a trip to London to engage with investors.
While many have linked this to a possible cabinet reshuffle‚ it is unclear what the president’s intentions are. This is what we do know for now:
Gordhan arrived in London on Sunday accompanied by director general of treasury Lungisa Fuzile‚ other officials alongside head of Business Unity South Africa‚ Jabu Mabuza and others.
They were due to spend Monday in London talking to investors‚ and the talks were due to continue on Tuesday.
This was part of an investor tour which was scheduled to start in London and last for two days there before moving to Boston in the US for a day and New York for two days.
Gordhan was to lead the delegation in London then head back for Johannesburg‚ with his deputy Mcebisi Jonas would leading the delegation to Boston and New York.
The minister was scheduled to return to South Africa on Tuesday evening as he had to be back in South Africa for an engagement on Friday.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor was instructed to serve as acting finance minister until Wednesday.
But on Monday morning‚ a letter dated March 27 was addressed to Gordhan from the presidency that tersely instructed him that he should return home and that the investor tour be cancelled.
The letter did not indicate the president’s reasons or the rationale behind the instruction.
By the time the letter dropped – and subsequently the brief media statement by the presidency confirming the matter – it was already too late to cancel some engagements of the day.
Mabuza confirmed to the Sunday Times that they continued discussions with investors all day long.
This happened while treasury staff scrambled to find a flight from Heathrow for the minister to return as per the president’s wishes.
Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyantsi confirmed that the minister was due to leave London on Monday evening at the instruction of the president.
Jonas who was due to fly out of Johannesburg would not go on the US leg of the tour.
Mabuza however‚ said they are yet to decide whether the engagements without the political heads would continue or not.
He said a decision would be made at 5PM London time.
– TMG Digital/The Times