Gordhan's Budget Speech 'more presidential' than Zuma's SONA

Cape Town – The hearty reception Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan got in Parliament when he delivered his Budget Speech on Wednesday is a reflection on President Jacob Zuma's failures, says political analyst Theo Venter.

Venter said Gordhan seemed "more presidential and dignified than Zuma and [US President] Donald Trump together", Netwerk24 reported.

Gordhan received a standing ovation from the opposition. There was less enthusiasm among some ANC ministers however.

Des van Rooyen, who was finance minister for a few days in 2015 before being replaced by Gordhan, remained seated.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was fingered along with Van Rooyen in a report on alleged "state capture", walked out during the speech.

Venter said the innuendos were significant.

Gordhan's approach to the plan for radical economic transformation, to which Zuma referred in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), is more achievable and politically significant, he said.

"Gordhan's approach and explanation is more pragmatic and based on economic efficiency, rather than the president's ideological one."

'Clear message to successor'

Professor Dirk Kotzé, a political analyst at Unisa, said Gordhan didn't come across as someone under siege and whose political future was in the balance.

"His Budget Speech was almost like a SONA, with a clear-cut vision of what the future holds."

He said Gordhan's breakdown of economic transformation made more sense than the message Zuma tried to convey during his SONA.

"He also sent out a clear message to his successor that they would be facing an extremely complicated agenda."

According to independent analyst Daniel Silke, Gordhan's approach to economic transformation seems more holistic and sober.

"He made it clear that it is not only about redistribution, but that the country also needs economic growth."

The fact that Gordhan didn't refer to the multi-billion rand nuclear plan at all, shows that those who want to benefit from it need to know that one doesn't always get what one wants when the economy is struggling, he said.