Ramaphosa to announce fate of Nene on Tuesday

Dr. Zweli Mkhize

Dr. Zweli Mkhize

South Africa's Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene looks on ahead of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing state capture in Johannesburg, South Africa October 3, 2018.

Nene is a key ally of Ramaphosa, who reappointed him finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle shortly after he became president earlier this year.

Nine years after leaving his post as governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni is has been appointed as the nation's finance minister and faces the unenviable task of reviving an economy that's mired in recession.

The public inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is reviewing allegations that three Gupta brothers - Atul, Ajay and Rajesh - unduly influenced former president Jacob Zuma about political appointments and the awarding of state contracts.

Both Zuma and the Guptas - who are at the heart of the inquiry into so-called "state capture" - have denied any wrongdoing. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

By accepting Mr. Nene's resignation, Mr. Ramaphosa is setting a tough new standard for corruption issues.

"Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance, " Malema said.

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"The ANC further commends Comrade Nene for the commitment he has shown to the well-being of the country", ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe 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. He remained active in politics, and was elected to the ruling African National Congress's decision-making national executive committee at a party congress in December.

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

Nene said during his testimony to the inquiry he was sacked in December 2015 for refusing to agree to Zuma's plans to spend billions of dollars on new nuclear plants.

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. The nuclear project was eventually shelved.

He also came under pressure to step down after it emerged that his son may have derived financial benefit from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) at a time when he was the organisation's chair.

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

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