South African finance minister Nene resigns over Gupta scandal

Dr. Zweli Mkhize

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former central bank Governor Tito Mboweni as his finance minister on Tuesday, replacing Nhlanhla Nene, who lied about his meetings with three businessmen accused of plundering state funds.

Meanwhile, there have been reports that Nene approached Ramaphosa at the weekend asking to be relieved of his duties.

Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.

He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.

Turning to Mboweni‚ Ramaphosa said he was coming in at a time when strong leadership was required.

Mboweni was born on March 16, 1959, and he was the eighth governor of the South African Reserve Bank and the first black South African to hold the post.

"It is incumbent upon any person who may have knowledge of any of the matters within the commission's mandate to provide that information to the commission, to do so honestly and to do so fully".

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"For the country to move forward‚ we need to establish the full extent of state capture‚ identify those responsible for facilitating it and take decisive steps to prevent it happening again", he said.

The party said Nene's resignation was welcomed. Diko said Ramaphosa was concerned about the uncertainty the matter had created in financial markets, and reaffirmed his commitment to the project of economic stability and economic recovery.

He revealed, during proceedings, that then President Jacob Zuma fired him in 2015 because he refused to sign the nuclear deal and for "toeing the Gupta line".

On the face of it a finance minister talking to top business people may seem normal, but the Guptas have been accused of using meetings, in their residence in a posh suburb of Johannesburg, to influence political decisions.

"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.

Mboweni, like mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe, has been appointed in terms of rules which permit two ministers from outside parliament.

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