Zuma's man‚ the ‘quickie minister’ Van Rooyen‚ jeered in Parliament
Des van Rooyen’s abortive tenure as finance minister was mocked in Parliament on Wednesday as mention of him during the Budget prompted jeers and laughter from MPs. By contrast his predecessor in the finance portfolio‚ Nhlanhla Nene‚ received prolonged applause.
This red-faced moment for Van Rooyen‚ the current local government minister‚ and President Jacob Zuma comes two days after the president praised his ex-MK comrade.
Zuma commented that Van Rooyen was the most “highly qualified” finance minister he has ever appointed‚ when he spoke at the inaugural meeting of the presidential press corps on Monday.
Specifically‚ he said Van Rooyen was “more qualified” than any other minister he had appointed to the post and that no one had taken the time to understand his decision.
This drew wry smiles and derision from commentators.
Zuma’s axing of Nene as finance minister and appointment of Van Rooyen‚ a little known MP‚ caused unprecedented backlash in December. The reaction from the markets and the effect on the currency resulted in Zuma’s reappointment of Pravin Gordhan to the post he held from 2009 to 2014‚ after a high-level intervention by business and politicians.