South Africa's finance minister Nhlanhla Nene resigns

Geneva Stokes
October 10, 2018

There have been mounting calls for Nene to resign after he admitted at the state capture inquiry that he DID meet with the Guptas on several occasions at their Saxonwold home.

Mr Zuma sacked him as finance minister in 2015, but he was reappointed by the current president in February.

He publicly apologised on Friday.

"I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence", he said. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

In a move that was cheered by markets, the former Reserve Bank governor returned to the cabinet for the first time since 1998, when former president Nelson Mandela deployed him to the Bank, before he took over after Chris Stals retired in 1999.

Business Day newspaper said the minister made the request after acknowledging in a hearing that he had visited the Gupta family, friends of former leader Jacob Zuma accused of unfairly winning state contracts. Ramaphosa promised to curb corruption that has contributed to South Africa's economic problems, though critics question whether he has the will and clout to scrutinize top levels of the ruling African National Congress party ahead of elections next year.

"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".

Kondlo said Mboweni was likely to take a hard line against public sector wage increases and could provoke friction with the country's influential trade unions.

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The rand gained 0.9 percent to 14.71 per dollar by 5:25 pm in Johannesburg, reversing an earlier decline of as much as 1.4 percent on the news.

Nene has also been praised by commentators for standing up to Zuma.

Both Zuma and the Guptas - who are at the heart of the inquiry into so-called "state capture" - have denied any wrongdoing.

"No person should be above scrutiny", Ramaphosa said Tuesday, calling on officials to cooperate with the inquiry.

Opposition parties have called for his resignation.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed Mboweni's appointment, saying it hoped he would "have the advantage of being able to hit the ground running".

There are fears however that a new finance minister, three weeks before the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement - the so-called mini-budget - could lead to more political turbulence.

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