Ramaphosa must accept Nhlanhla Nene's offer to resign - DA's Maynier

Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene is believed to have caved in to the public uproar for him to resign following his admission he met the Guptas several times at their home by asking President Cyril Ramaphosa to accept his offer to step down.
Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene is believed to have caved in to the public uproar for him to resign following his admission he met the Guptas several times at their home by asking President Cyril Ramaphosa to accept his offer to step down.
Image: Gallo Images / Ziyaad Douglas

President Cyril Ramaphosa must accede to Nhlanhla Nene’s request to step down from his position as the finance minister, according to the DA shadow minister of finance David Maynier.

Maynier's remarks follow Sowetan report on Monday that Nene has asked that Ramaphosa relieve him from his duties after admitting before the deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that he met with the controversial Gupta brothers – who are at the centre of the inquiry – several times at both their home in Saxonwold and offices in Midrand during his tenure as both deputy and minister of finance.

Nene, who apologised to South Africans for not hosting the meetings with the Guptas at his Treasury office, has faced growing calls to resign from office.

Maynier said that Nene exercised poor judgment when he held the meetings “after becoming suspicious of the family’s intentions”, that he may have breached the executive code of conduct over allegations that his son Siyabonga Nene may have financially benefited from the Public Investment Corporation during his tenure as the chair of its board and that he failed to disclose the information to Ramaphosa when he was reappointed as finance minister.

“To his credit, the minister issued an apology expressing regret for his mistakes, which he conceded included poor judgment, and which he accepts casts a shadow over his conduct,” said Maynier.

“However, in the end, the minister’s conduct, taken together with the fact that he is likely to be the subject of at least two ongoing investigations, which will drag on for months, now risks compromising public confidence in National Treasury.”

According to Maynier, if Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address speech is anything to go by - in which he promised to “turn the tide of corruption”- then Nene should not have his “full support”.

“We believe, therefore, that President Cyril Ramaphosa should accept the minister’s offer to resign and act swiftly to replace him before the medium-term budget policy statement is presented in parliament,” said Maynier.

Ramaphosa’s office declined to comment while the ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said he was busy with the relaunch of the party’s website which has been down for more than three weeks over alleged payment issues and asked for the questions to be sent via text which he had not responded to by the time of going to print.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene seemed to contradict himself when he testified at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on October 3 2018. In an exclusive interview with eNCA, Nene said he had only bumped into the Gupta family “once or twice” but, at the inquiry, he admitted to having met with the controversial family at their Saxonwold home on numerous occasions.

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