South African President Jacob Zuma has sacked Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, sending the rand to a record low as markets responded to the shock axing.
Nene’s dismissal comes after a credit rating downgrade to just one notch above sub-investment grade by Fitch, and at a time when the country’s economy isbarely growing, squeezed by low commodity prices globally and the near certainty of an interest rate hike in the United States next week.
President Zuma appointed Zuma has appointed ANC member of parliament, David Van Rooyen, to replace Nene.
Since 2014 when Nene was appointed to take charge of the Finance docket, he has emphasized the need to cap government spending, reign in bailouts to state-owned firms, and limit the size of wage increases to government employees.
Before his appointment to take over from Nene, Van Rooyen served as the Whip of the Standing Committee on Finance and as Whip of the Economic Transformation Cluster.
He was also a former executive mayor of Merafong Municipality and a former North West provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association.
Zuma gave no details on why Nene, who has been serving as head of the treasury for just under two years, was dismissed.