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Nene reportedly redeployed as ordinary MP in Parliament

Jacob Zuma yesterday announced Nene's position as Finance Minister would be taken over by David van Rooyen.

FILE: Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - After his sacking as Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene says he will be redeployed to Parliament as an ordinary Member of Parliament (MP).

President Jacob Zuma announced yesterday that Nene would be replaced by former Merafong mayor David van Rooyen.

The news sent shock waves across the markets, with the rand plummeting against the world's major currencies.

Opposition parties from the left and right of the country's political spectrum have slammed the president's decision.

Speculation is rife that the move may be linked to Nene's decision to reject the proposal by South African Airways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni for a new deal with Airbus.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Nene's replacement has questionable political credentials.

"This is a move, to place an unseasoned person politically, so that he is available for the manipulation that Zuma wants."

The Freedom Front Plus (FFP) has also slammed the president's decision.

Party leader Pieter Mulder says, "To appoint an unknown back bencher of politics, with a failure record in local government as a mayor, sends a very negative message to the international credit rating agencies."

Congress of the People (Cope)'s Dennis Bloem says Zuma's decision is a foolish one.

"The president is not thinking properly with replacing his ministers."

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says it's a dangerous move.

LISTEN: Mmusi Maimane says President Zuma's decison to sack Nene shows he doesn't understand economics.

FITCH CONCERNED

Ratings agency Fitch has joined the growing criticism of the decision to fire Nene.

It says the move has raised more negative than positive questions for the country.

Fitch expressed concern that the expenditure ceilings may be raised, saying it was closely watching government.

Last Friday, Fitch joined Standard & Poor's which had already downgraded its rating to BBB-minus.

Standard & Poor's revised the outlook on six financial institutions namely FirstRand Bank, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Investec and Capitec.

The agency also lowered its long-term South African National Scale ratings on a number of banks.

MARKETS

Despite a rough start this morning, the AllShare rose around 0.23 percent, but there was a substantial fall in banking and financial counters.

On a positive note, the gold index led the gains, surging 4.26 percent.

The Banking Association South Africa (Basa) says the removal of Nene is concerning in the light of Fitch's downgrading its rating of the country to BBB-minus.

Managing director Cas Coovadia says the rating agencies cited the performance of treasury as positive, particularly efforts to curb spending.

"We have a budget deficit that is beginning to be worrying and we need to ensure that the expenditure is controlled and disciplined."

Coovadia says Nene has been replaced by someone who is not known by the markets or any other business sector and that this is not good for international ratings.

"I think we need to be sensitive to the fact that we have just been downgraded to just above junk status by one of the rating agencies."

He says the markets and currency have reacted negatively to the move, which has sent out a concerning message to investors.