It’s been a tumultuous week for the economy – and South Africa. First President Jacob Zuma fired the (now) former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, and replaced him with a relatively unknown ANC MP David (or, rather, Des, which he later disclosed) Van Rooyen.
With billions wiped off the value of key financial stocks on the JSE and a plummeting rand, the country was rapidly staring down a financial abyss and hastened fiscal cliff.
Then, in a quick about turn, Zuma reversed his earlier decision, reportedly caving to pressure, particularly from the business sector. He reappointed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and moved Van Rooyen.
What followed was a wave of anti-Zuma protests on social media, speared on by the disastrous events. On 16 December – Reconciliation Day – South Africans took to the streets countrywide, demanding that Zuma step down.
M&G photographers Delwyn Verasamy and David Harrison captured the protests in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
#ZumaMustFall or SONA will be disrupted
Former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Wednesday said that Parliament, and the ANC in particular, will have to brace itself for a disruption of the State of the Nation Address come February next year if the ANC fails to fire President Jacob Zuma.
South Africa comes first, Mr President
An estimated 3 000 people gathered in the Johannesburg CBD to march under the #ZumaMustFall campaign.
Chop and change hits economy
Following the sacking of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, the Rand’s exchange rate dropped sharply, bond yields increased and share prices of South African companies, particularly banks, dropped dramatically.
Zuma’s announcement was followed by a shocked reaction from civil society. This became such an avalanche that he had no option but to announce a change of plans within four days.
The shower head won’t go away
People wielded placards and chanted “Zuma must go!”
‘Trevor Noah for president’
Barely settled in his seat at US news satire programme The Daily Show, comedian Trevor Noah gunned for Zuma, drawing comparisons between the president and leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, during a segment on the show in October.
The message is clear
The call is clear; people want the president to step down.