Nene: hardly unconstitutional, but bungled announcement!

Having now had a chance to reflect on what happened this week with the removal of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister of SA and all the self proclaimed gurus commenting it is perhaps time to ask some questions:

1. Was the announcement or removal of Nene legal ?
The president acted in his legal right and can’t be faulted for that.

2. Did the president act out his constitutional mandate?
Yes, the constitution affords the president singularly the right to appoint his cabinet. They serve at the privilege and pleasure of the president and no one else. Therefore the president has no need to consult anyone on his decisions in this regard. This idea that has fostered in which some believe it their inalienable right to direct the president is not constitutional and worthy of rightful condemnation.

3. Was there any constitutional breach in the announcement?

As far as I can see there is absolutely no constitutional breach for the president exercising his prerogative to relief a minister. The constitution does not spell out when reshuffling must take place, neither does it afford serving ministers a right to question the authority it was afforded to serve under in sense of recourse or dispute.

4. Was the communications clear ?

It is my submission that the communications on this was pathetic, abrupt and ill-timed and for that the presidency must own up and perhaps apologise to SA.

5. Is Nene a natural casualty?

This piece is the drummed up politics of this discourse. Nene has become a tool for some to string together claims of SAA and a Nuclear deal that he vetoed. These parade in volumes in public domain as more than fact but truth. I think no one pauses to ask why there is this campaign in which the SAA and a possible nuclear  energy deal is made to be the proverbial legs for a Nene axing. Those who started this discourse consciously refuse to be objective because objectivity at times constitutes for some a dreaded disease.

6. Why has Nene become a rallying point?
Nene has overnight become a singular hero for many who have their own political battles for which they always want a tool. It is convenient to want to attack the presidency who gave us a Nene to be accused of robbing us of the brilliance (claims or real) of a Nene. It is my view that Nene should never have become a tool but in politics he naturally would. It is here that I believe the presidency and his advisors should have anticipated and defused the unnecessary attention it created.

7. Who appointed Nene ?

This sounds like a rhetorical question yet is perhaps  valid not in arrogance but in a practical sense to ask.  Nene was appointed by the same president who is always questioned and second guessed  by the chattering class these span all apartheid race and class definitions. This group has over time felt it their entitled right in selfrighteousness to dictate to the president because he needs their wise counsel / advice since they regard him as a moron, morin on destroying their beloved SA.

8. What is meant with Nene is going to another strategic position?

The president made it emphatic that Nene will leave for a strategic position which means in the greater interest of SA though at another platform. This means mind and time had been applied to consider him out of his successful leading of the ministry. When Trevor Manuel in his heyday was mooted to become a world bank CEO South Africa celebrated and felt honoured. Yet when Nhanhla Nene is up to become a CEO of the BRICS bank it’s is deplored as a demotion. Why the double standards by those who rushed to file a petition against the president.

9. How did it becomeNene was fired?

Nene fired became a convenient caption, slogan. Nene’s axing and dropping as advanced by many who all of a sudden know what makes for a good finance ministry,  defies any logic.  I dare assert very few of those now blowing hot air gave Nhlanhla Nene a day’s chance in that office!

10. Was an injustice done to the new appointee?

Yes, the new entry was done a gross disservice as new incumbent because no seeming preparatory work in society / media preparation embrace was done. This left him to be subjected to the nonsensical and cheap politicking of people like a political homeless  Mbhazima Shilowa who was quick of the mark to attempt extracting his pre-historic relevance in claim of having fired Van Rooyen as municipal mayor for being incompetent.

It became to easy to rubbish a van Rooyen despite his current role as chairperson of parliament’s committee on Finance.

This is not new this same debate has been leveled against Zuma when he became president people forgot this man was elected and had served as deputy president of the ANC and SA. They in convenience acted as if the man was a new comer. We must ask why this behavior is never condemned ? We must ask why it is generally accepted that this phenomenon is normal ?

11. Why can’t the appointment of Van Rooyen not hold the same potential of a Nene?

Afterall the president appointed Nene without anyone’s advice. He clearly made as with many other appointments an excellent appointment why would they who already had castigated Van Rooyen not trust him now? The simple answer is they have no respect for this country’s constitution and claim yourself convenient custodians of it when you violate it daily.


Van Rooyen holds two masters degrees of which one is Finane and Economics yet now for the clever ones this education does not count. Van Rooyen was more educated than the darling of a Trevor Manuel. It begs the question is it true that when it is convenient qualifications prove not important?

This dishonest debate rages unabated in our discourse and it given life by those who have no regard for the constitution and whom at every turn attempts usurping the presidential mandate because it’s their inalienable right as so called custodians of our democracy.


12. What is the connection between Nene and rand plunging?

Yes, there is a connection when the Finance Minister of a country is pereceptibly abruptly removed it may have and immediate affect which in the short term may see the currency slide, yet that slide is not naturally sustainable. We have seen seen ideologically impaired “economists” airing their views as if we have not seen the rand depreciate before. The rhetoric is glaring and attest a sense of cynicism so akin to the gurus on our economy and its future.


13. Why did Jeff Radebe not know ? 

This is another issue made by some who argue the president act willy -nilly with a sense of impunity. The truth is Jeff Radebe like all ministers are appointed by the same constitutional prerogative and thus is subject to be removed also without the president consulting others. The president owes it to no other minister even those in the presidency to explain his decisions of appointments or firing.

Need I remind us when  the second democratic president of SA relieved his deputy president in 2005 did he consult anyone on his decision ? That was done as constitutionally sound no different to the relieve of any ministers after that.

In conclusion I think the technical blunders made are mostly anchored in communications one area this presidency  is pathetically weak, nothing illegal about that only a bungling in communications. These in my assessment could have been avoided by a duly organized and functional administrative system actualised in a proper communications strategy evidence in due messaging.

The process  became compromised because communications failed us. Despite some of us offering to help for free it has continued to be the undoing of this presidency. One may only wonder for how much longer this is sustainable in the long run.

For the rest of those who joined the chorus of the president must fall it’s to be expected and political ! Most of you already had fallen in some shape size and form. These include a Adam  Habib (who must really focus on his own survival at Wits), as usual a Judith February and Ranjeni Munusamy (self – styled expert on the ANC – who sounds more a like scorned lover) leading the usual brigade of know it all bias analysts who needs no reason to find a spot to continue a campaign they have long concluded is justifiable.

To them we say just do not make Nene a convenient victim and sudden makeshift hero for this your claim!

Just do not argue for a constitutional breach when it does not exist, when you want to blackmail the ANC to recall its deployed president.  Please do not  pretend your stringing together of what sounds romantically cool in conspiracies of SAA and nuclear deals as the gospel truth.

What South Africa as public demand from all of us is at least an  attempt at objectivity because for most of us  it appears a dreaded disease to be avoided at all and any cost!

Clyde N. Ramalaine

Sent from my iPhone