Has Ramaphosa lost confidence in Nene? DA asks

Barbara Creecy

Barbara Creecy

Opposition parties cited a South African media report that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had offered to quit, saying President Cyril Ramaphosa should dismiss him to show commitment to clean government in one of Africa's biggest economies.

On Friday, Nene apologised for meeting the Guptas at their home and businesses, and for not disclosing the meetings at the time.

Basa Chairman Mike Brown said on Monday that the markets would be watching closely if there were any change in the critical ministry, with all eyes on the person to replace Nene if he should resign or be axed.

Factions within the ANC have been discussing potential replacements that they could suggest to President Cyril Ramaphosa, three senior party officials said, asking not to be identified because the information has not been made public.

Nene's credibility is in doubt after he testified at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that he met the controversial Gupta family several times between 2010 and 2014, while was deputy and finance minister respectively.

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On Monday, it was widely reported that the Presidency said it was not aware of Nene's request to step down.

His removal as finance minister by then president Jacob Zuma in 2015 further gained him public sympathy as this was seen as a punishment for his refusal to play along with Zuma's plan to turn national treasury into a private empowerment scheme for himself; his Gupta friends and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He also told the commission that he was sacked by Zuma because he refused to sign a multi-billion nuclear power pact with Russian Federation that would have crippled South Africa's finances.

The Business Day newspaper reported on Monday that Nene asked Ramaphosa, who appointed him finance minister previous year, to relieve him of his duties over the weekend.

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