'Zuma will confound the prophets of doom'

By Political Bureau

Former president F W de Klerk has said in London he is optimistic that President Jacob Zuma will make the "right choices" during his five years in office - and "confound the prophets of doom".

In a speech to the Royal Commonwealth Society last night, De Klerk said Zuma's cabinet choices offered valuable pointers to the course he would take.

As head of the National Planning Commission, veteran former finance minister Trevor Manuel would play an enhanced role, giving him "the status almost of a prime minister". It was therefore likely that the Zuma administration would continue with the "responsible macro-economic policies" that Manuel had implemented.

The appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Manuel's successor was also a good sign as he had made the SA Revenue Service "the most effective organ in the state", said De Klerk.

"The appointment of businessman Tokyo Sexwale to the post of Minister of Human Settlements (housing) will help to strengthen the moderates in the cabinet and counter-balance the influence of the SACP and Cosatu," De Klerk said.

He also hailed the appointment of Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder as Deputy Agriculture Minister. "This might mean that (Zuma's) administration will adopt a responsible approach to land reform and seek to engage Afrikaans farmers in the development of a workable approach to this sensitive issue."

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