AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Justice and Peace: "the dismissal of the Minister of Finance damages economy and the poor"

Friday, 31 March 2017 justice   economy   bishops  

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) – The continuous reshuffling of the Ministry of Finance summits throw the Country into chaos and uncertainty and "are not in the interest of the economy and the poor". This was stated by His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Bishop of Kimberly and President of the Bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace" of the South African Catholic Bishop's Conference (SACBC), in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
The dismissal on behalf of President Jacob Zuma of Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, is attracting strong criticism from the opposition and within the same governing majority. Vice President Cyril Ramaphose described Gordhan’s dismissal as "unacceptable".
Gordhan, considered an honest and competent person, has accused President Zuma of being in collusion with the powerful family of Indian origin entrepreneurs, Gupta (see Fides 18/03/2016). His predecessor, Nhlanha Nene, had been fired by Zuma in a similar context (see Fides 17/12/2015).
"Since the resignation of Mr. Nene as Minister of Finance, there is a strong impression that the cabinet reshuffles made by the President were carried out in the interest of the political survival of the Head of State and of its network of patronage, and not in the best interest of the nation. The last reshuffle was not able to dispel this impression", writes Mgr. Gabuza.
Zuma has appointed Malusi Gigaba as new Finance Minister. "Let us wait to see the work of the new Minister in defending the principles of clean governance and fiscal discipline, especially in protecting the Treasury from undue influence of commercial companies", said Mgr. Gabuza.
Faced with scandals on public financial management, Justice and Peace asks the President to set up a commission of inquiry on commercial companies interference in the appointment of Ministers. "The inquiry – he concludes, must cover all companies, not just the alleged undue interference of the Gupta family". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2017)