Luthuli House, the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). PHOTO: Matthews Baloyi/ANA
DURBAN - The stepping down of former president Jacob Zuma drew widely differing responses from the KwaZulu-Natal business fraternity.

Business forum Amadela Ngokubona criticised Zuma’s resignation and said it had set back radical economic transformation in the country.

The forum's general secretary, Thulani Myeza, said Zuma championed radical economic transformation and now that he was no longer the president they were not sure if President Cyril Ramaphosa would share the same sentiments as Zuma.

“We have been dealt a terrible blow as we are not sure about the way forward. It is unfortunate that the man who championed the cause is no longer the president,” Myeza said.

Amadela Ngokubona became popular for demanding subcontracting jobs in large construction projects around the province.

Myeza said they would be happy if Zuma could come and explain to the forum about the way forward.

However, the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) said the move had been positive for the country as the rand had strengthened after Zuma’s resignation.

PCB chief executive Melanie Veness said the response from the markets to Zuma's resignation clearly indicated that investors had welcomed his departure.

JSE-listed company ARB Holdings, which is based in Durban, said it was a case of wait and see if conditions would improve with the new president pulling the strings.

Chief executive Billy Neasham said he hoped the move would restore business and consumer confidence in the country.

Ebrahim Patel, president of Minara Chamber of Commerce, said the change was good as it would bring stability to the economy. The Muslim Minara Chamber of Commerce was formed in May 2000.