Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Finance Minister Asked to Resign in Phone Call to Ramaphosa

Barbara Creecy Barbara Creecy
Bennie Garza | 10 October, 2018, 08:30

In a nationally televised address, Ramaphosa said he accepted Nene's resignation because of "errors of judgment" as a result of a controversy surrounding Nene's testimony in an ongoing graft inquiry in South Africa.

But Nene's opponents say he was involved in corrupt deals with the Guptas when he was deputy finance minister and head of the state pension fund.

Mboweni, who went into exile during apartheid, trained as an economist and served for four years as labour minister in former President Nelson Mandela's cabinet after apartheid ended in 1994.

But Nene apologized last week after telling a commission of inquiry about visits that he made years ago to the businesses and home of the Gupta family, who along with Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

But Nene has also been praised by commentators for standing up to Zuma on crucial issues. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

"It's a measure of his character and commitment to the country that he has chose to resign in spite not being implicated in any wrongdoing", the president said.

"Mr Nene served the people and government of South Africa with diligence and ability", Ramaphosa told reporters in Cape Town.

While Mboweni is South Africa's fifth finance minister in less than three years, the financial markets welcomed his appointment and the rand erased losses and advanced as much as 1.4% against the dollar on Tuesday.

"The Nene case shows how it is hard for Ramaphosa to change the country", Tresca said. Many ministers in his cabinet and the previous Zuma cabinets have held meetings with the Guptas, and some have provided favours to the family.

Mboweni is a member of the ANC's national executive committee, one of the ruling party's highest decision-making bodies.

Until the latest revelations, Mr. Nene was widely seen as a hero of the resistance to corruption.

He told the inquiry he was sacked by Zuma in December 2015 for blocking deals that would have benefited the Guptas, particularly a $100 billion nuclear power deal with Russian Federation that could have crippled Africa's most developed economy.

He previously served as minister of finance from May 25, 2014, until his controversial removal by former President Jacob Zuma on December 9, 2015. The nuclear project was eventually shelved.

In congratulating Mboweni, the DA's finance spokesperson David Maynier commented that he had been "plucked from political obscurity" to be appointed as Nene's replacement.

"(He) will have the advantage of being able to hit the ground running and is, at least, known to market participants, ratings agencies and global financial institutions", it said.

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