SA economy hasn't performed under former cabinet ministers - Jacob Zuma

President also tells NA that SAA has never been on top of the world

SA economy hasn't performed under former cabinet ministers - Zuma

Cape Town - The South African economy has not functioned properly under the former ministers who got sacked during the Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March this year, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

During a parliamentary question and answer session, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma if he agreed that the economy is in the doldrums due to his “recycling of finance ministers”, which had caused considerable policy and leadership uncertainty.

On March 31, Zuma removed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister along with his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, as well as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Derek Hanekom as tourism minister from their positions among others.

In the immediate aftermath of the reshuffle, the rand lost 11% versus the US dollar, but has regained some value in the following months.

Apart from currency volatility, South Africa’s sovereign credit rating was also downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, which both cited the change in ministers as one of their reasons for cutting South Africa’s credit rating.

Zuma on Thursday maintained that South Africa’s economic woes should be attributed to low global growth and not domestic factors alone.

“There is in this country a situation that is found globally,” Zuma told members of Parliament. “There are many countries in difficulty – and some are worse than South Africa. At a certain point South Africa performed even better (than other economies).

“It’s bad in all countries, even in those where ministers haven’t been changed. You can’t pin down the economic position in South Africa to the removal of a minister. In other countries, economies are down without removing ministers. I’m correcting you,” Zuma told Maimane.

“The ministers may have been changed, but the (economic) situation is what it is because of global circumstances,” he continued.

He said it’s not the truth that "once a minister is changed then the economy goes down".

“The economy has not been functioning with those ministers in place. It’s not a magic wand that once you remove a minister the economy goes down.”- Fin24

SAA has never been 'on top of the world' - Zuma

Cape Town - South African Airways has never been on top of the world and has had problems “all the time”, said President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

During a question and answer session in the National Assembly, Zuma responded to a question posed by Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane who asked when SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni will be removed from her position.

“[SAA’s problems] started long before the people who are working there now,” Zuma said. “In fact, it’s thanks to these people (the current SAA board and management) that Parliament received a report on corruption,” Zuma said. “These people made it possible and the report indicates that the corruption at SAA has been going on for a long time.”

He also briefly referred to plans to recapitalise SAA.

“A decision has been taken to recapitalise SAA and turn it around. There are also other plans that will be announced soon so that SAA can become the company we all want,” Zuma said.

A week ago, Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees revealed in Parliament a confidential Cabinet memo outlining government's proposal to sell its stake in Telkom worth about R14.4bn in a bid to recapitalise South African Airways (SAA), which requires a R10bn bailout.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba criticised the revelation, and added that the Telkom sale was not a “done deal”.

This week, however, Telkom advised its shareholders to exercise caution when dealing with its shares, as it announced government’s proposal to reduce its 39% stake in the telecommunications firm.