In a twist of events, South African president Jacob Zuma has dismissed his pick last week for the Finance Ministry, David van Rooyen following his controversial sacking of the much respected Nhlanhla Nene on Wednesday.
The sack immediately set off a storm of criticism, which led to the collapse of the rand.
Affirming that he had really missed the mark, the President was forced to respond to the developing fiasco that his ill-timed judgement had inaugurated.
“I have received many representations to reconsider my decision. As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views,” Zuma said in a statement.
To stave off the crisis, the South African leader has now turned to Pravin Gordhan, who held the post of finance chief for five years until 2014.
The firing of Nene and the appointment of Van Rooyen saw the rand currency drop to historic lows against the US dollar.
The move was also roundly condemned by analysts and media commentators, who warned it would destabilise an economy already struggling with high unemployment and slowing growth.
Nene’s removal came less than a week after South African debt was moved closer to “junk” status by rating companies, which highlighted growth predicted at a sluggish 1.4 percent this year, and rising interest and inflation rates.
Zuma who had been on the firing line for some time now on account of a rash of poor policies, was accused of sacking Nene because the minister had not rubber-stamped planned spending on a huge nuclear power programme and publicly slapped down a move by state-owned South African Airways (SAA) to renegotiate a plane-leasing deal with Airbus.
Van Rooyen will now take over Gordhan’s post as minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.