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Who is David van Rooyen?

Former Merafong Mayor David van Rooyen has replaced Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance.

Former Merafong Mayor David van Rooyen has replaced Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance. Picture: Merafong Facebook page

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Wednesday night.

The Presidency announced Nene would now be deployed to what it calls a strategic post and former Merafong Mayor David van Rooyen is the new finance minister.

But, exactly who is van Rooyen?

Van Rooyen is a former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) operative and member of anti-apartheid movements such as the Khutsong Student Congress and the United Democratic Front (UDF).

President Zuma appoints David van Rooyen as Minister of Finance in surprise announcement.

@DavidMaynier pic.twitter.com/T4FbfuqyzK

According to the African National Congress (ANC), he graduated with a Masters in Economic Policy from the University of London last year and he also holds diplomas in Advanced Business Management and Municipal Governance.

His highest positions include the national whip of the finance portfolio committee and the North West head of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

But it is his tenure as mayor of Merafong in 2009 that's caused concern about his leadership style.

Residents there chased him out of the township after burning his house and accused him of trying to move the Merafong Municipality from Gauteng to the North West.

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

Meanwhile, Nene has not commented on his firing and the ANC has said it believes van Rooyen will be able to provide the necessary leadership to the National Treasury.