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SAA decisions will determine if Van Rooyen a political appointment: analyst

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How newly-appointed Finance Minister David van Rooyen deals with South African Airways (SAA) would be a test of why he was put in the job.

This was according to political analyst Daniel Silke, who on Thursday said a litmus test for Van Rooyen would be how he reviewed former minister Nhlanhla Nene’s decision not to proceed with SAA chair Dudu Myeni’s Airbus funding proposal.

“This will be an immediate signal as to whether the minister is serious about repairing the state-owned enterprise damage or whether he is simply a political lackey appointed to benefit the connected elites.”

This followed Nene not approving the proposed amendment to SAA’s Airbus A320/A330 swap transaction structure last week. Treasury last week said Nene instructed SAA to implement the transaction structure in line with the approval already granted.

More than a week later, he was removed from the ministry and replaced with Van Rooyen, who was sworn in on Thursday afternoon at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Silke said to stabilise markets, which reacted badly to Nene’s removal, the new minister should express his intention to continue in the path of his predecessor.

“[This means] to present a picture of continuity with regards to reining in government spending and managing the state of state owned enterprises, in particular SAA,” he said.

He said the markets would be looking for stability in policy and a vowed intention to keep government spending in check and prevent further rising debt burdens. News24

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