Zuma expected to be 'main topic' at ANC meeting

The reshuffle of ministers to be discussed at a National Working Committee meeting this afternoon.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Pravin Gordhan's move back to the finance ministry and new minister David van Rooyen's appointment as cooperative governance minister are expected to be major topics of discussion at a National Working Committee (NWC) meeting at the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters in Johannesburg today.

President Jacob Zuma re-appointed Gordhan as the new finance minister, replacing van Rooyen, who held the position for four days after Nhlanhla Nene was fired.

The meeting which is underway at Luthuli House was always scheduled to take place today.

However, last night's dramatic about-turn by President Jacob Zuma is expected to be one of the main topics of discussion.

There's been widespread concern and anger in the wake of the president's announcement last week, that he was removing Nene as finance minister.

However, economist Goolam Ballim says the markets have stabilised with the news of Gordhan returning.

"We have the rand close to R15 to the US dollar. Interest rates on the bond market has seen a decline of a percentage point."

The ANC's alliances, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) who are also represented at today's meeting, have welcomed Gordhan's re-appointment.

IMMEDIATE AND LONG-TERM PLANS

At the same time, the new finance minister today called for reflection among public servants in South Africa over how they spend resources.

"We do require a bit of national reflection among South Africans as to how do we want to manage state resources, but ultimately, they are public resources and we are guardians of public resources. We must play our guardian role in a very responsible way. Although, some people tend to forget that as we actually go."

Speaking in Pretoria, Gordhan reassured investors South Africa would continue on its path of fiscal discipline.

"We are not going to make reckless decisions. We are going to ensure that the kind of discipline that government has demonstrated since 1994, is the kind of discipline that will continue. Nobody needs to fear that we will move in any other direction."

He says the country has also noted comments on the economy from international rating agencies.

"We take account of the concerns of the rating agencies and investors. We shall endeavour to protect the investment rating of South Africa."

Gordhan says government will restore confidence in the country's economy by "doing the right things".