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South Africa finance minister quits over links to Gupta family

10 October, 2018, 11:44 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Daniel Mminele

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accepted the resignation of the country's finance minister Nhlanhla Nene on Tuesday, following what the President described as "errors of judgement". "He will strengthen Ramaphosa's hand in cabinet".

"As former governor of the reserve bank, Mr Mboweni brings to this position vast experience in areas of finance, economic policy as well as in governance", he said.

There have been mounting calls for Nene to resign after he admitted at the state capture inquiry that he DID meet with the Guptas on several occasions at their Saxonwold home.

While Mboweni is South Africa's fifth finance minister 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.

But he had accepted the resignation because Mr Nene feared his testimony "detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa as we work to re-establish public trust in government", Mr Ramaphosa said.

The President appointed a respected former governor of South Africa's central bank, Tito Mboweni, as the new finance minister.

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

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

He revealed, during proceedings, that then President Jacob Zuma fired him in 2015 because he refused to sign the nuclear deal and for "toeing the Gupta line". Ramaphosa's spokeswoman Khusela Diko did not respond to phone calls. "This averts a potential crisis in the political leadership of the national treasury".

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.

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. 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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