South African finance minister criticized after testimony

10 October, 2018, 11:47 | Author: Carlos George
  • Mcebisi Jonas

"Their continued stay in cabinet sends a message that Ramaphosa is inconsistent and fails go put the interests of South Africans above those of the ANC's big shots".

He served as labour minister in the cabinet of former president Nelson Mandela in the mid-1990s and was widely praised for his work as the governor of the South African Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2009.

Mr. Nene had previously denied any private meetings with the Guptas, but he finally admitted them last week during his testimony to a national inquiry into state corruption.

This is how President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed his new finance minister after Tito Mboweni, a former governor of the SA Reserve Bank, took oath of office on Tuesday.

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.

The party, which has been vocal in its demand for Nene's sacking over the past few days, now wants Ramaphosa to fire Minister in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

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"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.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister. 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 ANC forced Zuma to quit as president in February after nearly nine years in office, clearing the way for his 65-year-old deputy and party leader Ramaphosa to take over. Ramaphosa's spokeswoman Khusela Diko did not respond to phone calls.

With government debt at already dangerously high levels and the country at risk of losing its sole remaining investment-grade credit rating from Moody's Investors Service, Mboweni will have little option but to stick to the National Treasury's expenditure ceilings and deficit-reduction targets.

Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties following public pressure over his testimony last week. Ramaphosa has said combating graft is one of his top priorities, and he's replaced a number of other officials implicated in wrongdoing.

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