— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) January 12, 2016
I think President Zuma pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said that his removal of Nene wasn’t the cause of South Africa’s flirtation with economic disaster in December 2015, at least in more general terms. I just read an article on BusinessTech titled “Economists can’t convince me I was wrong: Zuma” and a few quotes stood out for me, especially if you read between the lines (literally and metaphorically):
“People did not consider many things,” Zuma said. “The rand had been going down when Nene was there. It had been going down for months and months. It was not triggered by the decision (to remove Nene).”
Removing Nene certainly triggered a virtual collapse but if you look at the Rand’s performance over the last decade and a half, you can see the slide. It has been sliding down the hill since about 2012.
“The removal of Nene was ‘not breaking the economy’…People didn’t understand what was happening and they exaggerated the issue,” he said.
Perhaps, maybe everyone overreacted and blamed the market collapse on that one decision to remove Nene as Finance Minister. Perhaps they should have looked at the bigger picture.
Zuma told the SABC in an interview on Sunday: “He (van Rooyen) was going to come into a very effective, functioning department. I don’t know why people thought that when he comes in, the treasury is going to fall down. I don’t understand.
This is probably one of the most interesting statements the President made. If the Finance Ministry was (and, perhaps, is) a “very effective, functioning department” then the root cause is probably not the Ministry or the Minister (I’m oversimplifying). Perhaps the root cause is the person responsible for the bigger picture: Zuma himself. Perhaps someone should suggest he give his comments a little more thought, possible pass by a mirror … Do they have those things in Nkandla?
Just saying (somewhat sarcastically).
Image credit: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presents Budget Speech, 26 Feb 2014 by the GovernmentZA, licensed CC BY ND 2.0