The presidency’s statement said Gordhan s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence”.
Pravin Gordhan, a widely respected Indian-origin politician, has been appointed South Africa’s new Finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma, becoming the third finance chief of the country in a week amid a raging economic turmoil. Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene from the ministry on Wednesday and replaced him with the relatively unknown lawmaker David Rooyen, sparking a wave of criticism and financial turmoil. The removal of Nene sent the Rand currency to record lows, sparked a sell-off in bank stocks and sent yields in local and dollar-denominated debt soaring. Credit agency Fitch downgraded South Africa on December 4 December, leaving the continent s most sophisticated economy just one notch above junk status. The president came under intense criticism for the manner in which he replaced Nene. The announcement was initially made with no reasons given and it was seen as ill-timed given the intense pressure on the economy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The choice of Rooyen, an ANC whip in Parliament s standing committee of finance, was also questioned given his relative lack of experience in government. 66-year-old Gordhan’s appointment sent the Rand up almost 5% night, but failed to quell a tide of criticism of the president. Gordhan was widely respected when he served as South Africa’s finance minister from 2009 until 2014. In a statement on Sunday, the president said that after replacing Nene he had “received many representations to reconsider my decision”. “As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” Zuma said. The presidency’s statement said Gordhan’s role would include “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence” and “working with the financial sector so that its stability is preserved”, Timeslive reported. It called for “adherence to the set expenditure ceiling while maintaining a stable trajectory of our debt portfolio, as set out in the February 2015 budget”. The statement called for “more inclusive growth and accelerated job creation while continuing the work of ensuring that our debt is stabilised over the medium term”.