Mandela calms jittery investors

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's government of national unity insisted yesterday it was committed to an investor-friendly economic policy, following the shock resignation of the highly-regarded Finance Minister, Derek Keys.

It also sought to allay lingering concerns in financial markets that the decision to step down by Mr Keys, who cited personal reasons, might mask policy rifts within the South African cabinet.

'There need be no cause for concern that the policies (of Mr Keys) will be abandoned,' President Nelson Mandela told reporters while discussing an aid package from Japan.

The government would stay the course of macro-economic stability, fiscal discipline and sustained growth, while pursuing its Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which is designed to enhance the living standards of apartheid's victims.

Financial markets, which were hit hard on Tuesday as rumours of the minister's resignation swept the country before it was announced, remained brittle yesterday morning.

'I'm sure the markets, like me, suspect some tension at cabinet level between those who just want to spend, and those who would say: hang on,' said Tony Twine, an economist with the business consultancy, Econometrix.

President Mandela named a prominent former banker, Chris Liebenberg, to succeed Mr Keys, who had been the head of the country's second biggest mining and industrial house before he was co-opted by Mr Mandela's predecessor, F W de Klerk, into becoming a member of the cabinet in 1992.

Mr Mandela, in forming his all-party national unity government, which is dominated by the socialist-leaning African National Congress (ANC), retained Mr Keys to reassure foreign and local bankers and businessmen.

The Deputy Finance Minister, Alec Erwin, an ANC member, yesterday drove home the same message as conveyed by Mr Keys in announcing his resignation.

'There's no tension on policy whatsoever . . .

'Clearly if we'd all had our way, we'd have wanted minister Keys to stay on.' He outlined a relationship of close co-operation between Mr Keys and ANC officials throughout 1993 and during this year's run-up to April's first all-race elections.

'We've worked together on policy, and one really can't stress enough that there are no differences on that issue.'

The government believes Mr Liebenberg will fit in with its policies. Mr Keys will stay on board for what Mr Erwin described as important months ahead, while the RDP gets off the ground, preparations are completed for a return to world capital markets and the groundwork is laid for the budget in March.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future