Broken chair Nene asking to be sacked: Report

Finance Minister Nhlahla Nene has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire him according to the BusinessDay.

The move comes after the finance minister admitted to several meetings with the Gupta family, that he had previously kept quiet about, and allegations surrounding the PIC’s investment into a palm oil refinery in Mozambique.

While it appears as though his son did not receive favourable treatment the secrecy around his role in the deal has raised a lot of suspicions.

Similarly, the Gupta meetings appear to have been in an attempt to buy a stake in Independent Media, which Nene didn’t sell.

The Economic Freedom Fighters had been calling for Nene’s head over the revelations and the fact that they claim he hadn’t answered their questions to him about his relationship with the Gupta family.

News24 reports that the DA joined the EFF’s calls for Nene to resign, despite what appeared to be a defence of the Finance Minister by Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Twitter.

The UDM had already been raising questions about Nene’s integrity since May according to Fin24.

According to TimesLIVE, Nene hadn’t told Ramaphosa about the meetings he had with the Guptas.

My Take

So far as I can see Nene hadn’t engaged in anything that looks that corrupt. I agree with Zille that simply meeting the Gupta family as chairman of the PIC, particularly when they are legitimately trying to buy some of the PIC’s shares, isn’t that shady.

I also don’t think the PIC deal with his son’s business partner is that bad. By the looks of it Nene had asked his son to get out of the deal, and it only went through after the PIC was assured that he did.

I am not sure that Nene’s son actually got any benefit from it. That said, it still makes him look like he was a broken chair.

Nene’s rejection of the nuclear deal, and his reputation for being one of the few ministers to tell former President Jacob Zuma “no” – points to a man who, when it comes down to brass tacks, will act with some integrity.

He still kept this all to himself though, and if you’re in Ramaphosa’s position where you’re trying to restore public trust and the economy is suffering, and you have reports that guys like Ace Magashule are having to explicitly deny plans to take you out in a coup, you don’t want these surprises being sprung on you.

Nene keeps secrets, and that is a big problem right now.

So that leaves the question, who should be the next finance minister? So far as I can see it is a poisoned chalice because our economic situation isn’t great and the finance minister bears the brunt of that.

If I were Ramaphosa I would be inclined towards the DA’s David Maynier. Why?

The ANC is deeply compromised at every level, when Bathabile Dlamini said that everybody had these small skeletons on their closets, there was a certain amount of knowledge there.

Pravin Gordhan is another alternative, but I think if he wanted the job he would have it already. Mcebisi Jonas meanwhile was Nene’s deputy, and likely isn’t interested either, the job’s a bit of a poison chalice by now.

So going outside of the party is probably the best approach. I believe that cadre deployment, and the systemic rewarding of loyalty has been the root of the government’s woes here, so going with a non-cadre I think is necessary to restore public trust.

That said what I think should happen, isn’t what is likely to happen. We’ll probably end up with a story a few months down the line about the new finance minister being involved in some other shenanigans, because this is the ANC we’re talking about, and that’s pretty much what they’re good at.

  • Picture courtesy of GCIS via Flickr

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