Arguably South Africa's shortest-serving minister Des van Rooyen. Photo: GCIS
Arguably South Africa's shortest-serving minister Des van Rooyen. Photo: GCIS

SA’s finance ministers over the past 10 years

By Sechaba ka'Nkosi Time of article published Oct 10, 2018

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October 9 to date:

Tito Mboweni 

MBOWENI moved from the labour portfolio to the governor of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb), which he headed for a decade until 2009. His biggest achievement was building the country’s foreign exchange reserves to almost $40 billion from less than $10bn. After leaving the central bank he went into business, acting as an adviser in South Africa for the Goldman Sachs Group. He has also served as chairperson of AngloGold Ashanti.

February to October 2018: 
Nhlanhla Nene

NENE returned apparently reluctantly to the finance ministry after he was unceremoniously sacked by former president Jacob Zuma in a Cabinet reshuffle in December 2016. His sacking sent the markets into a free fall, with the rand plunging to record lows against the dollar, losing more than 5 percent and the JSE banking index falling 13.5 percent.

March 2017 to February 2018: 
Malusi Gigaba

GIGABA was appointed in one of former president Jacob Zuma’s most bizarre moves following the tense relations he had with Pravin Gordhan. This as Gigaba oversaw what many people called the collapse of the country’s state-owned entities and visa regulations that strangled the tourism industry.

December 2015 to March 2017: 
Pravin Gordhan

ZUMA turned to Gordhan after the markets as well as senior ANC and business leaders denounced his appointment of Des van Rooyen as Finance Minister. Gordhan undertook numerous trips to calm investor sentiment and assure ratings agencies that South Africa could turn its fortunes around. He was, however, fired after Zuma ordered him to abandon an investor roadshow in Britain and fly back home. Zuma gave no reason for the recall.

December 9 to 13, 2015: 
Des van Rooyen

VAN ROOYEN endured what is arguably the shortest stint as a minister in South Africa’s history. A former mayor of a small town, Van Rooyen’s four-day stint saw the near collapse of the country’s financial markets with the rand reaching record lows and the stock market wiping at least R170 billion off. From December 13, 2015 to February 27 this year, he served as Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

May 2014 to December 2015: 
Nhlanhla Nene

NENE assumed the ministry after serving nearly six years as a deputy minister, succeeding Jabu Moleketi who resigned after the recall of Thabo Mbeki. He was seen as a natural choice for the full ministry, as the markets viewed him as friendly, but he was sacked after giving former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni and her board a deadline to conclude the agreement to swop the purchase of 10 A320s for a lease of five A330s from Airbus. During his testimony at the State of Capture Commission last week, Nene revealed that he was fired for also refusing to sign on the nuclear programme.

May 2009 to May 2014:
Pravin Gordhan

GORDHAN served a full term after succeeding the country’s longest serving finance minister Trevor Manuel. He had created a reputation as an efficient leader as the commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, improving taxman’s reputation as an efficient revenue collector. He was sent to clean up the ministry of co-operative governance and traditional affairs until 2015, before being recalled following Van Rooyen’s short-lived stint as finance minister. 


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