David van Rooyen was appointed as the new finance minister after President Jacob Zuma made the shock announcement that Nhlanhla Nene had been removed from the post.
Following the decision, the rand plummeted to more than R15 to the dollar, with some economists saying that Nene’s removal might create an uncertain future for South Africa’s economy.
In a statement, Zuma said that while Nene “had done well since his appointment… during a difficult economic climate”, he would now be moved to a “strategic position”.
Weekend Special South Africans, economists and political parties heavily criticised Van Rooyens appointment. However, President Zuma quickly changed his tune over the course of a week and announced that Van Rooyen will no longer be the Finance Minister. Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was moved by Zuma to the co-operative governance ministry, was announced as the new finance minister on Sunday.
Twitter used the opportunity to joke about David van Rooyen’s four-day tenure in the position.
Eyewitness News sports editor Cindy Poluta tweeted a picture of Van Rooyen with a speech bubble saying: “Yes. That’s right. I am now the Minister of Weekend Specials.”
Others used Branda Fassie’s hit Weekend Special as a sort of theme song for Van Rooyen.
Scello Gumbi said: “3 ministers in 1 week! This must be a record! Whenever I see Van Rooyen I’ll sing ‘weekend special’. An image he uploaded showed Zuma, with text saying: “The new finance minister is Pravin Van Rooyenmanuel.”
A parody account for Van Rooyen also joined the fray. The account description said: “Disgruntled ANC MP. Was Finance Minister for a weekend. Got treated like one of Number 1’s mistresses. I love soccer, golf, tennis, hunting & parody accounts!”
Some of the account’s tweets following Sunday’s announcement took a dig at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead’s “firepool”: “FFS [for fuck’s sake]. And they just broke ground on my new firepool!” and mentioned axed Congress of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi: “I will be in contact with comrade @Zwelinzima1 about this flagrant violation of labour law and worker’s rights.”
“The most recent tweet said: “I will be referring a dispute to the CNA for unfair dismissal.”
Watch video below on David van Rooyen appointment as Minister of Finance:
Watch video below of Van Rooyens media briefing:
Van Rooyen’s new appointment Newly appointed Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) David “Des” van Rooyen outlined his programme of action for 2016 and beyond following his sudden removal from the finance ministry after spending only four days in that portfolio. Van Rooyen, the man who briefly replaced Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister, says he understands and supports President Jacob Zuma’s decisions and plans. His appointment as the new finance minister last week set the social media ablaze with some commentators calling for his head. It took the President four days, following strong public dissatisfaction and protests to reverse his own decision. Van Rooyen was then deployed to Cogta. He opened his media briefing by thanking President Zuma for appointing him as member of the executive. Van Rooyen, who refused to discuss the behind the scene deals that saw him moving from one portfolio to the other, could only say he understands and supports the decision made by the president. He says he wants to focus on his new job at Cogta after swapping the roles with Pravin Gordhan. He promised to work and improve relations with labour movements and associations representing municipalities. “We look forward to engaging with the South African Local Government Association and the labour movements to ensure that they play their meaningful role so that we can all execute on what needs to be accomplished together. We are committed to continuing the work of my predecessor, Minister Gordhan. The Back-2-Basics programme has set the wheels of service delivery in motion and as one ANC government we will work together in the best interests of our citizens.”
Van Rooyen says his department is concerned about the death toll of summer initiation schools which currently stands at 43 country wide. He has urged traditional leaders and parents to ensure that the initiates attend registered schools. Van Rooyen says the other concern they have is the continuation of the abduction, kidnapping and the mushrooming of illegal and unregistered initiation schools. “We cannot allow these to continue without being challenged. We must correct this situation. We are working of course as a matter of fact with various stakeholders across the sectors to ensure that our young men can undergo this rite of passage in a very safe manner. Let me reiterate that the parents and guardians should ensure that they send their young men to registered initiation schools. They must ensure that these schools abide by the rules and regulations initiated by the Department of Health.” Van Rooyen once again reiterated that North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo and Western Cape are the worst hit provinces experiencing serious drought challenges. He commended the National Disaster Management team that will spend this festive season assisting with drought cases especially in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The NDMC has deployed a team to the KZN province to assist with mitigating the effects of the drought. This team will be ceased with this matter throughout the festive season. As some of us will be enjoying our Christmas lets express our gratitude to these team members. And of course their families who won’t have time to spend their Christmas or festive season with their family members and of course pass our word of gratitude for the sacrifices that they will be making during this time.”
Van Rooyen concluded his briefing by saying government will also continue to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive infrastructure and maintenance plan in municipalities.
Here are some of his career highlights:
• Cosas branch executive (1984-1986)
• MK operative (1985-1989)
• NUM member (1988-1989)
• Chairperson of the Khutsong Student Congress (1986-1987)
• Khutsong UDF representative (1986-1989)
• West Youth Congress executive (1987-1989)
• MK soldier (1989-1994)
• ANCYL branch leader (1994-1996)
• ANC branch leader (1994-1997)
• ANCYL regional leader (1996-2003)
• ANC regional leader (1997-2007)
• Merafong City mayor (2003-2009)
• Member of Parliament (2009-2014)
• Whip in National Assembly (Parliament) (2014)
• ANC provincial leader (2007-2009)
• 19th candidate at ANC regional Gauteng Election List (2014)
Van Rooyen appointed as Minister of Cogta
– By News 24/SABC