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DA accuses Zuma of undermining Pravin Gordhan

Zuma yesterday defended his appointment of backbench MP Des Van Rooyen as finance minister.

A screen grab of President Jacob Zuma watching on during the 2016 State of the Nation debate on 16 February 2016. Picture: YouTube

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused President Jacob Zuma of undermining Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on the eve of delivering what could be his most crucial budget speech ever.

Zuma yesterday defended his appointment of backbench Member of Parliament (MP) Des Van Rooyen, a move that wiped billions off the stock market and put the rand into a nosedive.

Zuma told reporters yesterday Van Rooyen, whom he replaced with Gordhan after just four days, was 'more qualified' in finance than any other he'd appointed.

The DA's finance spokesperson David Maynier says it's unwise of Zuma to try and defend the appointment.

Maynier says Gordhan is in a tight spot as he prepares to deliver a budget that responds to the country's economic crisis and the risk of a downgrade to junk status.

"To get the economics right, the minister will have to get the politics right. The minister's capacity to do things differently is limited by the political space available to him inside the African National Congress (ANC), South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) alliance."

Maynier says the view that Gordhan has a free hand when it comes to the budget is exaggerated.

The finance minister will deliver his budget speech in Parliament tomorrow afternoon.

LISTEN: Here's what South Africans have to say about government...

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