12 Things You Didn’t Know About South Africa’s New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba
South African President Jacob Zuma threw the country into turmoil with an unpopular cabinet reshuffle that includes a new finance minister. Zuma has entrusted Malusi Gigaba with the country’s Treasury.
Popular former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was axed from the role, and Gigaba is expected to fill the void left by the hard-working MP whom Zuma saw as a threat.
The former home affairs minister steps into the role of finance minister at a time when the fragility of the South African economy remains a concern, evidenced by the Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgrades that followed the cabinet reshuffle.
We take a look at 12 things you might not know about South Africa’s new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
He has a degree in pedagogics
The man in charge of boosting South Africa’s economy and leading treasury in the right direction has an education — just not necessarily in economics. He completed a bachelor of pedagogics (education) at Durban-Westville before going on to earn a master’s degree in social policy from the same institution.
Experienced minister in the ANC government
Before his appointment to treasury, Gigaba was the minister of home affairs since 2014, enjoying a fair amount of success in the ministry with the roll out of new smart ID cards. Before that he was minister of public enterprises from 2010 to 2014, so he is an experienced MP.
A Zuma loyalist
Gigaba is considered a loyal Zuma supporter, and has often defended the president when he has come under fire. This is no doubt one of the reasons why the new finance minister has been entrusted with the role in Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle.
Gigaba is known as a fashion enthusiast with a passion for stylish clothes and a flamboyant wardrobe. In fact, rumor has it that he was at a fashion show when he received word that he was to become the new finance minister.
He is popular on Instagram
Giving followers a taste of his extravagant lifestyle and busy schedule, the 45-year-old minister of finance uses image-based social media platform Instagram to connect with over 136,000 followers on the site through his official account, @malusi_gigaba.
Fourth finance minister in 16 months
In December 2015 Zuma replaced then-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene with Des Van Rooyen. Zuma backtracked a few days later, reinstating Gordhan, who had served in the position years earlier, after markets reacted terribly and the rand nosedived. Gigaba is now the fourth minister in less than 16 months.
He is married to Nomachule Mngoma
In 2015 Gigaba married IT executive Nomachule Mngoma in an extravagant wedding ceremony that was featured on South African lifestyle magazine show “Top Billing”, with the government official dressed in typically dapper attire.
Gigaba is a caring individual with an emotional attachment to a particular hospice in South Africa. He is a patron of the OASIS for Hope Hospice, supporting the care center in its efforts to give the dying dignity and comfort in their final moments.
He is active on Twitter
The finance minister is active on social media platform Twitter, where his unverified account @mgigaba is followed by almost 31,000 followers. He has posted over 5,500 tweets of his own.
Gigaba grateful for Gordhan’s efforts as FinMin
Despite the tensions and high emotions in the country when Pravin Gordhan was replaced in the finance ministry, Gigaba thanked the outgoing treasury head for his sterling efforts during his tenure as minister.
He was president of the ANC Youth League
His political career began with membership activities in the ANC Youth League, among other youth organisations. Gigaba was elected president of the African National Congress Youth League three times in a row, in 1996, 1998 and 2001, laying the foundation for the politics that lay ahead.
He has a sense of humor
Political puppet comedian Chester Missing once interviewed Gigaba, asking him a number of difficult questions, which the minister dealt with in his stride, showing a sense of humor and calm.
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