Presidency condemns toxic ‘Zuma-Gordhan war’ media narrative

Presidency media statement

The Presidency strongly condemns the toxic narrative that is being promoted in the media that insinuates that President Jacob Zuma is engaged in a certain “war” with the Minister of Finance.

Pravin Gordhan, South Africa's finance minister, right, sits beside Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president, left, before delivering his 2016 budget speech to parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Gordhan stuck to a pledge to bring down the budget deficit, targeting civil-servant jobs and increasing wealth taxes to stave off a credit-rating downgrade to junk. Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg
Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister, right, sits beside Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, left, before delivering his 2016 budget speech to parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, 2016. Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg

The narrative is being peddled in local and foreign media and some sections of business, that the President is fighting his Minister of Finance and the National Treasury department. The purpose of the said “war” is apparently that the President wishes to take control of the National Treasury.

It should be noted that the President controls all government departments including the National Treasury, as the head of government, and by virtue of the fact he appoints Ministers and they report to him. All government departments also report to the President via their respective Ministers. It is therefore absurd to say that the President would be engaged in a struggle to control a government department that he already controls, and also when he actually controls the whole of government.

The primary objective of the President and Government is to unite the nation behind the goals of reigniting growth in order to preserve and create jobs during the difficult economic climate.

The Presidency trusts that the information peddlers will allow South Africa the space to focus on this national imperative and refrain from the perpetual spreading of false rumours.