We’ll blame Zuma if economy tanks‚ says ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni


We’ll blame Zuma if economy tanks‚ says ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni

Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-03-31 13:20:05.0

President Jacob Zuma reacts as Economic Freedom Fighters MPs hurl insults at him before delivering his State of the Nation speech.

Image by: Esa Alexander

ANC struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni said President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle was a cleverly disguised move aimed at firing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

But he cautioned Zuma to take responsibility‚ should the economy tank due to his move.

He said it is common practice for presidents or prime ministers who wanted to fire popular ministers to either dissolve or reshuffle the Cabinet.

“The president has done precisely that so that he cannot be accused of having dropped [Gordhan] … he cannot be accused of wanting to take over the Treasury because he has dropped a few people‚” said Mlangeni‚ who‚ along with Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada‚ was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island.

He said it was a clever way of getting rid of Gordhan‚ who has been odds with Zuma’s government over Treasury’s crackdown on government spending.

Gordhan’s departure has already spooked investors. The rand had lost more than 5 percent by Friday morning after Zuma’s late-night Cabinet announcement on Thursday.

The JSE’s banks had R86 billion of their market capitalisation wiped out as the market reacted to Zuma’s firing of Gordhan and his deputy‚ Mcebisi Jonas.

Asked about fears that the reshuffle would harm South Africa’s economy‚ he said markets always react negatively to such changes.

“It is his prerogative to appoint and drop ministers from his Cabinet. Now‚ if the market is going to react negatively‚ it is his responsibility. He will not blame any other person for the markets reacting negatively. We will always put the blame on the president‚” he added.

Former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba is the new Finance Minister‚ with former Zuma aide Sfiso Buthelezi as his deputy.

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