Nene removal 'sends the wrong signal' to investors - analyst

Kaveel Singh, News24

Durban – The removal of Nhlanhla Nene as minister of finance sends the wrong signal about South Africa’s ailing economy, says political analyst Daniel Silke.

President Jacob Zuma late on Wednesday announced that Nene would be removed and replaced by ANC MP David van Rooyen.

Speaking to News24, Silke said the replacement of Nene will be questioned by anxious domestic and foreign investors alike.

"This is the shortest reign of a finance minister and will create further doubts about cohesiveness of South Africa's economic policy. Questions will be asked of Mr Nene’s replacement. Will he for example apply continuity of policy?"

According to Silke, Nene was outspoken about the overspending of government organisations and parastatals.

"We have to find out now if the new minister will in fact also continue to point out flaws or become a political puppet. Mr Nene was a realist and pragmatist. His short reign will be remembered for reigning in expenditure."

Silke said that the new finance minister will be immediately tested with how he will deal with the "wayward South African Airways and government spending".

"The new finance minister has the unenviable task of confronting economic realities or bowing to political pressure. How SAA is handled in the post-Nene period will indicate if the new finance minister is a political lackey or an independent realist.

"Politics and obfuscation will prevent South Africa knowing the real reason why such a critical minister at a critical time has been replaced."