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Economists urge new finance minister to show independence from Zuma

Economist Lesiba Mothata says David van Rooyen needs to prove to SA that he won’t be easily influenced.

South Africa's new Finance Minister, David Douglas Des van Rooyen being sworn in on 10 December 2015. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Economists have warned that it's crucial that newly appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen show his independence from President Jacob Zuma.

On Wednesday Zuma announced his decision to remove Nhlanhla Nene as the finance minister.

The move sent shockwaves through the South African markets.

Speculation is rife that Nene was removed over his disagreement on the nuclear deal and for reigning in the South African Airways board.

Economist Lesiba Mothata says van Rooyen now needs to prove to the nation that he will not be easily influenced.

"That he will not take orders that aren't economically sound, he needs to give comfort to the whole country that the second layer of leadership at Treasury will stay."

Mothata says the finance minister needs to put his foot down when it comes to state enterprises.

"He needs to commit that we won't continue to fund state owned enterprises that continue to eat up the fiscus."

WHO IS DAVID 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).

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.

WATCH: Despite torching his house, Khutsong residents wish van Rooyen well.

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 van Rooyen's 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.