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Thu May 26 00:43:05 SAST 2016

If Van Rooyen was so good, why did you drop him, Mr Zuma?

The Times Editorial | 23 February, 2016 00:17

If David "Des" van Rooyen was the most qualified person to appoint as finance minister, why then, Mr President, did you remove him less than 72 hours later?

We ask this question as we struggle to understand your decision to first appoint Van Rooyen and later remove him from the job.

Yesterday, you added more confusion by trying to clarify your actions, which caused the country to lose billions in less than a week.

If Van Rooyen was the best finance minister you ever appointed, then, Mr President, allow us to deduce that you don't rate the incumbent, Pravin Gordhan, highly.

Can we also presume, Mr President, that Gordhan was imposed on you and that you still believe Van Rooyen is the man for the job?

It is these statements, Mr President, that feed the toxic space in which our markets operate.

As Gordhan prepares to deliver his most difficult Budget speech tomorrow, we hope he will brush off your statement and concentrate on what matters most.

It is not your friendship with Van Rooyen that matters. If he was that good, why did you not advance reasons to keep him in the job?

It is troubling that your statements come as we try to limit the storm hitting our economy.

It is also unfortunate, Mr President, that you decide to share your thoughts about Van Rooyen at a time when Gordhan is preparing to rescue the economy.

Yesterday you again failed to appreciate that markets do not operate on the basis of friendship.

South Africa will support your decisions if they are taken to advance our interests.

How you handled the Van Rooyen appointment and his recall tells us you were unable to convince the captains of industry, including senior officials within the ANC.

Now that Van Rooyen has a new post and Gordhan has cooled the markets, we believe your statement yesterday failed us.

Advance credible reasons why Van Rooyen was right for the job.

If you cannot, then let sleeping dogs lie.


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