South Africa's finance minister Nhlanhla Nene resigns

Lamar Ellis
October 10, 2018

Former reserve bank governor Tito Mboweni has been appointed finance minister after President Cyril Ramaphosa accepted Nhlanhla Nene's letter of resignation. Watch the full announcement here.

"Government sources said Nene approached Ramaphosa after the highly negative public reaction to his apology to South Africans on Friday for the meetings with the Gupta family when he served under Zuma", the South African newspaper said.

The Sunday Times reported that when Nene was reappointed to the Cabinet in February this year, he did not disclose to President Cyril Ramaphosa that he had had seven meetings with the Guptas during his previous Cabinet stint. He became the first black governor of the SA Reserve Bank in August 1999 and served for just more than 10 years until November 2009. Nene did not answer calls for comment.

The three Gupta brothers, who are friends of Zuma and in business with his son, were implicated by the former anti-graft ombudsman in influencing government appointments and the award of state contracts - allegations they and Zuma deny.

"What does this mean" about Minister Nene.

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South Africa's political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.

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

He added that Nene feared his testimony to the inquiry "detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa particularly as we work to re-establish public trust in government". He is urging those ministers and other senior officials to follow Mr. Nene's example by volunteering to give testimony at the national inquiry into corruption so that their conduct can be reviewed. Ramaphosa's spokeswoman Khusela Diko did not respond to phone calls.

Ramaphosa has made clean governance and the kick-starting of an economy mired in recession top priorities.

The visits occurred when he was deputy finance minister and also finance minister before Zuma fired him from that post in December 2015, Nene testified.

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