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‘I understand the importance of my new role’

David Van Rooyen, who says he wants to be known as ‘Des’, gave his first media briefing as minister today.

David 'Des' van Rooyen. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - New Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister David Des van Rooyen says he understands the importance of his new role.

Van Rooyen, who says he wants to be known as 'Des', gave his first media briefing as minister after spending a brief four days as South Africa's finance minister.

President Jacob Zuma's decision to replace Nhlanhla Nene with van Rooyen sent shockwaves through the economy and on Sunday night Zuma backed down and brought back Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.

Des says he'll be continuing the work of his predecessor Gordhan.

"I'm extremely humbled to stand before you today as the new minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, fully cognisant of the great responsibility bestowed upon me by his Excellency, honourable President Jacob Zuma."

Van Rooyen says the president was putting the country first when he removed him as finance minister after only four days.

"Our president has placed our country first and I echo president Zuma's statement is saying as a democratic government we must consistently listen to our citizens and respond to their views."

Van Rooyen appears to harbour no ill-will towards the president for replacing him as finance minister after only four days.

He was asked whether he signed off on any deals during his brief four days as the country's finance minister.

"If possible, let's avoid being stuck in the past. But nevertheless I must indicate that as a humble servant of the glorious movement called the ANC, from an early age of 16, I am ready to be deployed anywhere at any time by this movement even if it's for two hours."

He says his experience as mayor of Merafong and chairperson of the South African Local Government Association in North West will stand him in good stead in his new job.

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