Songezo Zibi, Editor, Business Day (SA) –
UNDER normal circumstances, 2015 would be a year President Jacob Zuma would like to forget. This year saw the culmination of six years of economic policy mismanagement and dithering that sapped the confidence of business to invest and led to most economic and fiscal indices pointing in the wrong direction.
While everyone else was looking for measures to curb the decline, Zuma decided to throw fuel on the fire by firing Nhlanhla Nene. The reasons given for his dismissal and replacement by David Desmond van Rooyen were unconvincing.
As expected, the rand crashed through the psychologically important barrier of R15 to the dollar, and then on to the hitherto unthinkable R16/$. Banking stocks lost up to 10% of their combined market capitalization upon the news.
Since Zuma ascended to the presidency in 2009, unemployment has risen from 23% to 25%. Youth unemployment — the anchor of his electoral promises six years ago — has increased from 33.7% to 35.5%.