SA's Nhlanhla Nene resigns; Tito Mboweni new finance minister

Barbara Creecy

Barbara Creecy

"He will strengthen Ramaphosa's hand in cabinet".

It has taken approximately less than seven days for now former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to move from being one of the most trusted and loved public servants to him now being referred to as compromised, with some questioning his integrity.

Jonas told a judicial panel last month that Ajay Gupta offered him the post of finance minister and a R600 million ($40.3 million) bribe in exchange for business concessions.

Ramaphosa confirmed that former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni is set to replace Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister with immediate effect.

The rand was 0.03% stronger at R14.5500 per dollar at 0700 GMT, having closed in NY at R14.5550.

Ramaphosa declined to answer reporters' questions about Nene at the release of a new postal stamp at his Cape Town office on Tuesday.

The Guptas, who built a vast business empire in the mining and media industries in South Africa after forging a partnership with the son of former president Jacob Zuma, are now under criminal investigation on corruption allegations.

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Mr. Nene had committed "errors of judgment" but was not personally implicated in any wrongdoing, Mr. Ramaphosa said in his announcement on Tuesday.

Mboweni is a member of the ANC's national executive committee, one of the ruling party's highest decision-making bodies.

This was Nene's second stint as finance minister.

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. Diko said Ramaphosa was concerned about the uncertainty the matter had created in financial markets, and reaffirmed his commitment to the project of economic stability and economic recovery.

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.

The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.

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