Zuma has played his worst card ever - Cope
Genevieve Quintal, News24
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has played his worst card ever by removing Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, Congress of the People said on Wednesday.
"Out of the blue, comes this announcement of Nene which will make the jittery market even more dubious about South Africa’s prospects of shifting economic gears and holding spending," said spokesperson Dennis Bloem.
"He stands between South Africa and economic growth. He has certainly overstayed his welcome and it is he who should go."
Earlier on Wednesday, Zuma announced that Nene would be replaced by ANC MP David van Rooyen.
Nene was to be deployed to another "strategic position" which would be announced in due course.
Cope questioned whether the move was an "act of vengeance" on Zuma's part because Nene had not approved the proposed amendment to SAA's Airbus A320/A330 swap transaction structure.
SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni is said to have close ties with Zuma.
"Was this... because of Nene’s insistence that SAA lease the aircraft as per prior arrangement? Did Dudu Myeni have any role to play in his axing? How big a role did his crossing of swords with Myeni play in this firing of the minister?" asked Bloem.
"With Zuma, country never comes first. We entertain huge suspicion on this matter."
According to Treasury, SAA has not demonstrated that there was certainty that the proposed amendment to its Airbus A320/A330 swap transaction structure would leave the airline in a better financial position than it would otherwise have been had the airline implemented the original swap transaction structure, Fin24 reported.
Nene felt the available information indicated that the proposed transaction structure would actually leave SAA in a materially worse off financial position where it was unable to meet its commitments.
Cope believed that Zuma should be the one to be axed.
"If South Africans were blasé up to now, they should wake up to the fact that our government and our economy is in the very worst of hands.
"Nene must have been under immense pressure not to apply the fiscal brakes," said Bloem.