Many capable people to replace Nene if he is removed - Ramaphosa's spokesperson
There are a lot of capable people who would be able to replace finance minister Nhlanhla Nene should President Cyril Ramaphosa accept his offer to resign.
This is according to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko who spoke as the country awaits an announcement at 4:30pm on Tuesday afternoon about Nene’s future.
“We have no doubt that there are a lot of capable South Africans who would be able to diligently carry out the work of a finance minister if the president was to take a decision that he would like to replace minister Nene,” said Diko.
According to Diko, Ramaphosa’s imminent announcement on Nene could go either way.
“… we will await the president’s announcement in that regard whether indeed he’s making such a replacement or once again reconfirming his confidence in the work that minister Nene continues to do.”
Sowetan reported on Monday that Nene had asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as minister.
This followed Nene’s testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture where he admitted that he met the Gupta brothers eight times at both their home in Saxonwold and their offices in Midrand.
Diko would not be drawn on whether Nene will be delivering the medium-term budget policy speech in two weeks’ time.
“I said the minister of finance will deliver the medium-term budget policy statement,” she said.
Three names touted as likely to replace Nene include Gauteng MEC for finance Barbara Creecy, SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize.
“The president has not yet indicated that there’s a vacancy in the finance ministry,” said Diko to questions on possible replacements.
Ramaphosa is expected to attend a cabinet meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday which, if he were to remove Nene and replace the late environmental affairs Minister Edna Molewa, could be used to swear in the new ministers.
This could mean that we may have a new finance minister by later today.
Diko also said she believes that if Ramaphosa decides to remove Nene from office, he would table his reasons.
“The president has not made such a confirmation to us [whether or not he knew about Nene’s meetings with the Guptas] so we would not know. I think that while the president is not compelled to speak to the reasons for any [decision] he would take as it relates to how he composes his cabinet, I’m sure if he makes an announcement he’ll also let us know what he did know and what he did not know.”