Gupta storm forces South Africa's Finance Minister to resign

10 October, 2018, 06:29 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Lesetja Kganyago

Nene faced calls to resign after he admitted visiting the Gupta brothers, friends of scandal-plagued former President Jacob Zuma, who have been accused of high-level influence-peddling, and failing to disclose the meetings earlier.

The communist party praised Nene for refusing to hand South Africa over to what it called the highest bidder, by refusing to sign the nuclear contract, which former president Jacob Zuma wanted to enter into with Russian Federation. They fled the country after Mr. Zuma's resignation in February and now live in Dubai.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Although Nene has since apologised for lying about meeting the Guptas, he chose to step down from his role.

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.

The president is now considering central bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and one of his predecessors, Tito Mboweni, for the post, the people said.

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"I have made a decision to accept his resignation", Ramaphosa told journalists in Cape Town.

"If Ramaphosa wants to retain credibility in terms of his "anti corruption" drive, he has got no option but to let Nene go", said Susan Booysen, a political science professor at the University of the Witwatersrand's School of Governance.

Meanwhile, Malema - in a written letter to Ramaphosa on Monday - said SA was undergoing serious economic difficulties, and one of the ingredients in an economic recovery was a credible finance minister.

Nene, who publicly apologized for not previously reporting the visits to the Gupta brothers, has not made any statements confirming or denying the report by Business Day newspaper.

The alleged breach relates to allegations surrounding a Public Investment Corporation investment in S&S Refinarias‚ reportedly including a $1.7-million "referral fee"‚ which may have benefited the minister's son‚ Siyabonga Nene. He served as labour minister in the cabinet of former president Nelson Mandela in the mid-1990s and was widely praised for his work as the governor of the South African Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2009.

For the EFF, Nene's position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle. It said Nene's conduct in meetings with members of the Gupta family had been "unethical conduct of lying and misleading the public about his relations with the Gupta criminal syndicate".

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