The sacking of ex financing minister, Nhlanhla Nene, has in numerous ways been a true blessing in disguise for South Africa, claims Sanlam Private Investments CEO, Daniel Kriel.
Speaking at a round-table event in Sandton on Tuesday, Kriel said that while markets were pummeled in the short term, along with the value of the rand, president Jacob Zuma’s actions made ordinary South Africans sit up and take notice.
On 12 December 2015, Zuma announced a surprise shuffle in his cabinet, firing Nene as the country’s finance minister. The move caught everyone unawares – including markets, which saw half a trillion rand in value wiped away, sending the rand into a tailspin.
The rand has since recovered from the events in December, while Nene has taken up a job as a non-executive director at the privately-owned investment management firm, Alan Gray.
In afternoon trade on Tuesday, the rand traded at its strongest levels in more than four months – at R14.28 versus the US dollar.
“The firing of minister Nene was a blessing in disguise,” Kriel said. “All of a sudden South Africans stood up and took note, and the business community stood up an took note.”
He said that Zuma’s actions have opened up a better line of communication between business and the government, which is a positive for the country. The business community realised that they must take action on the country’s ratings – and not leave it up to government to do alone.
Kriel said that ordinary South Africans have begun to question how government’s actions affect them. “They are taking a stand,” he said. “That’s a positive thing.”
Kriel called the recent Constitutional Court ruling “a major milestone in South Africa’s young democracy – that’s also a positive thing”.
On the recent scandal surrounding the Gupta family, he said that never in his working career, has he seen public and private institutions such as banks saying they are not prepared to provide a service to those who are perceived to be involved in corruption.
“I think overall – what we’ve seen happen is extremely positive for South Africa. People should not get impatient with the speed at which this change is taking place,” the Sanlam Investment lead said.
Source: Business Tech