South African finance minister Nene resigns over Gupta scandal
10 October, 2018, 08:31 | Author: Myra Gill
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon at Tuynhuys, Ramaphosa said Mboweni would provide the strong leadership needed at this time. "He will strengthen Ramaphosa's hand in cabinet".
Ramaphosa, who has pledged to clean up corruption and revive South Africa's struggling economy, has appointed Tito Mboweni, a former head of the South African Reserve Bank, as the new finance minister. His major achievement at the central bank was building the nation's foreign-exchange reserves to nearly US$40-billion from less than $10-billion.
On Monday, Business Day reported that Nene had asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties following public pressure over his testimony at the state capture inquiry, at which he admitted to meeting the Gupta family on numerous occasions, and at their private Saxonwold home.
The rand fell more than one percent on the report.
Nene faced calls to resign after he admitted to visiting the Gupta brothers, friends of the former president Jacob Zuma who have been accused of high-level influence-peddling, and failing to disclose the meetings earlier.
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.
The biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, issued a similar call, saying Nene is likely to be the subject of lengthy investigations and that he risks "compromising public confidence" in the National Treasury.
In his letter asking Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties, Nene said he was anxious his testimony at the state capture inquiry would detract from his ability to serve and efforts to restore trust in the government.
Ramaphosa said he had received a resignation letter from Nene and had made a decision to accept it.
While Mboweni is South Africa's fifth finance minister in less than three years, the financial markets welcomed his appointment and the rand erased losses and advanced as much as 1.4% against the dollar on Tuesday.
"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.
The crisis over the finance minister has thrown a spotlight on Ramaphosa's promise to crack down on corruption and boost economic growth. Ramaphosa has said combating graft is one of his top priorities, and he's replaced a number of other officials implicated in wrongdoing.
This revelation at the state capture inquiry raised serious questions about Nene's credibility, particularly whether the Guptas had any role in his previous Cabinet deployments and whether he at any stage had acted under their instruction.
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