Ramaphosa to announce fate of Nene on Tuesday

Tito Mboweni

Mboweni, the nation's fifth finance chief in less than three years, will have to oversee an economy that's fallen into recession and help Ramaphosa rebuild confidence battered by nearly nine years of mismanagement under former President Jacob Zuma. "He will strengthen Ramaphosa's hand in cabinet".

President Cyril Ramaphosa has yet to respond to mounting calls to fire Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. 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.

This on the back of his appearance before the commission of inquiry into state capture last week, where he confirmed visiting the Gupta family on numerous occasions between 2009 and 2014.

The rand fell more than one percent on the report.

After leaving the Reserve Bank, Mboweni went into business, acting as an adviser in South Africa for Goldman Sachs Group and served as chairman of AngloGold Ashanti and on the boards of other companies.

Earlier on Tuesday, presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa had been engaging with Nene following his testimony at the state capture inquiry.

"Mr Nene served the people and government of South Africa with diligence and ability", Ramaphosa told reporters in Cape Town.

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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. The EFF, which called the finance minister a "horror story", said it would only accept his apology if he resigned.

"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.

Nene said he believed he was sacked because he refused to "toe the line" on projects, including a since-abandoned deal for nuclear energy, that may have benefited the Gupta family and other Zuma associates.

Ramaphosa has vowed to crack down on corruption as he tries to revive the economy and boost declining support for the ruling ANC party ahead of elections next year.

Nene's appointment to Ramaphosa's Cabinet this year was widely welcomed as a break from the alleged plundering of state resources. "This averts a potential crisis in the political leadership of the national treasury".

Meanwhile, Malema - in a written letter to Ramaphosa on Monday - said SA was undergoing serious economic difficulties, and one of the ingredients in an economic recovery was a credible finance minister.

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