Nene’s sacking described as 'reckless', 'dangerous'

The move sent shockwaves across the markets, with the rand nosediving overnight against major currencies.

FILE. Former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is being widely criticised and is being described as reckless, dangerous and even an act of wilful sabotage.

The move has also sent shockwaves across the markets, with the rand nosediving overnight against the world's major currencies.

Zuma has appointed David van Rooyen as Nene's replacement, but his ability to lead such a crucial portfolio is being questioned.

JSE'S FIRST HOUR OF TRADE 'BUMPY'

The developments have had an impact on the JSE, which opened for trade earlier.

The first hour of trade has been a bumpy one, with the market bouncing in and out of positive territory.

That's as market participants continue to digest and asses the latest decision by the president and replace the now former finance minister with someone who is unknown to the market.

The timing of the decision has been questioned, coming a few days after ratings agency downgrades and with a possible interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve next week.

The rand, which took a big knock after the decision, continues to trade above the 15 to the dollar level with more weakness expected as the day goes on.

Analysts say a statement from the new finance minister to layout his plans for the economy going forward could possibly ease some of the concern.

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

OPPOSITION PARTIES REACT

Opposition parties have condemned Zuma's decision.

Ordinary South Africans have also taken to social media to react to the decision with the hashtag #ZumaMustFall trending across the country.

While the African National Congress (ANC) says the president does not have to explain his decisions, South Africans on social media have reacted with outrage.

Most of the tweets have been about the impact Zuma's announcement has had on the rand dollar exchange rate.

Along with the hashtag #ZumaMustFall, Dudu Myeni is also trending.

This is due to speculation that Nene was removed by Zuma over his criticism of the controversial South African Airways SAA chairperson.

LISTEN: Social media reacts to Zuma's cabinet reshuffle with #ZumaMustFall

'NENE WAS TIPPED OFF'

Business Day editor Songezo Zibi says Nene had been tipped to leave his office in the weeks before Zuma made the announcement.

He says along with no budgetary allocations for a nuclear deal in Nene's speeches, the controversy over SAA also worsened Zuma's relationship with him.

"The president had to make a choice between the chairperson of his foundation and friend and the National Treasury."