Zuma opens the doors for looting the national purse


The only reason it took four days for Zuma to execute the decision was because of considerable opposition within the ruling African National Congress governing alliance.

But Zuma rode rough shod over these concerns, ending days of speculation with a major overhaul of his cabinet and the removal of key ministers, some of who had become increasingly critical of the president.

The Finance Minister has been the focus of particular interest and concern because he controls national public expenditure – he holds the national purse.

Gordhan instilled confidence in the role.

South Africans, international investors and international credit rating agencies saw him as a “safe pair of hands”.

This confidence extended to his deputy and the department they ran, the National Treasury.

The removal of the minister and his deputy therefore makes no logical sense.

The inevitable conclusion is that Zuma was hellbent on replacing them with appointments that would allow looting of the national purse.

Their replacement with Zuma acolytes places the national purse in his hands.

Zuma can simply not be trusted with the national purse.

Many examples can be cited, but we have to look no further than the Nkandla fiasco.

It took an order of the Constitutional Court to call the president to order.

South Africa cannot afford to have the national purse in the hands of a president who has shown that he doesn’t understand the difference between his own and government assets.

It’s perhaps a bit much to ask President Zuma to care, as his conduct to date has clearly shown that he doesn’t care about the damage he does to the economy.

With Gordhan and Jonas gone, are South Africa’s other public institutions safe?

It leaves only the SA Reserve Bank outside the immediate control of the president.

The central bank’s independence is enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

While cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of the president, the position at the SA Reserve Bank is different.

The Governor and deputy governors of the central bank are appointed for fixed terms by the president.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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