South African rand drops as president sacks finance minister

South African Finance Minister Nene has been removed from cabinet, rand falls after announcement

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene delivers his 2015 Budget Speech at Parliament in Cape Town on February 25, 2015 (Reuters)

South African President Jacob Zuma announced late on Wednesday that he had removed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene from the cabinet.

He is to be replaced by David van Rooyen, a member of parliament.

‘‘I have decided to remove Mr. Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance, ahead of his deployment to another strategic position,’’ Zuma said in a statement.

The President did not give reasons for removing Nene who became the country’s first black finance minister when he was appointed in May 2014.

“Mr Nene has done well since his appointment as Minister of Finance during a difficult economic climate,” Zuma said in the short statement.  

South African President Jacob Zuma speaks during a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sandton, Johannesburg on December 4, 2015 (Reuters)

The South African rand dropped about 5.7 percent against the dollar after the announcement, holding at record lows of about R15 to the dollar.

Nene previously served as deputy finance minister from November 2008 to May 2014.

He also formerly served as chairperson of the finance portfolio committee and has been a member of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress Party (ANC) since 1999.   

Van Rooyen currently serves as a Whip of the Standing Committee on Finance as well as the Whip of the Economic Transformation Cluster in Parliament.

He formerly served as Executive Mayor of Merafong Municipality and also worked as the North West provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association.