South Africa’s Jacob Zuma is causing controversy once again, this time after ignoring desperate pleas not to disrupt his cabinet. Despite the calls for stability, Zuma dropped the axe and fired five ministers in his cabinet, including the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan. In addition to Gordan losing his job, Zuma also removed Tina Joemat-Pettersson, former Minister of Energy; Dipuo Peters, former Minister of Transport; Derek Hanekom, former Minister of Tourism; and Ngoako Ramatlhodi, former Minister of Public Service and Administration. The impact of this shuffle is gaining momentum as the people of South Africa brace for a rough transition, worrying specifically about how this change-up will affect the economy and their personal lives, with both the Minister of Finance and Public Service getting the boot.
Zuma is confident in his decision, telling the press, “I have directed the new ministers and deputy ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socioeconomic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality.”Others don’t share Zuma’s confidence in his decision to cut a seasoned finance minister and replace him with an “unknown.” Malusi Gigaba, formerly in charge of Home Affairs, has little to no experience in the finance world.
“The little that we know at the moment is that it’s probably not good news for the markets because he (Gigaba) doesn’t have any real finance experience,” said Noelani King Conradie, NKC African Economics Director. “This raises the risk of rating downgrades, and it is going to continue the uncertainty about future economic policies.” For now, South Africans are bracing for the unknown. Experts are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, and Zuma continues to muscle through his decision standing tall.