Gupta storm forces South Africa's Finance Minister to resign

Mcebisi Jonas

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".

It's been reported that Nene requested that the president relieve him of his ministerial duties, as a result of his misconduct regarding meetings with the Gupta family.

The decision, made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, comes after Nene chose to resign from the post on Tuesday morning following a public outcry sparked by his public apology last week over his multiple meetings with the Gupta family at their private home.

The Guptas are accused of having undue influence over former President Jacob Zuma and his executive as well as state-owned enterprises.

"I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence and not in my office or at least a public place", his public apology letter read.

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Mboweni, who trained as an economist, served as head of the South African Reserve Bank for a decade until 2009 and for four years as labour minister in the former President Nelson Mandela's cabinet.

Opposition leaders, however, noted that Mr. Mboweni had been active on social media in the past and had once posted a tweet in which he called for state ownership of 40 per cent of all mining companies.

Several ministers and government officials have been implicated in the graft scandals around the Guptas.

Nene is a key ally of Ramaphosa, who reappointed him finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle shortly after he became president earlier this year.

One common theme that has emerged is visits to the family's sprawling Johannesburg property, which is why there has been public anger regarding Nene's revelations.

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In a public apology after his testimony, Mr. Nene said he was sorry for failing to disclose the meetings, which took place when he was deputy finance minister and later when he was finance minister.

"The reality is that [Nene] was friends of the Gupta criminal syndicate‚ visited them often‚ discussed sensitive state businesses with them‚ and [was] therefore one of the enablers of state capture and corruption".

"The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate".

We look back at the rise and fall of the former finance minister. Nene's predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, had raised taxes and cut spending in the February budget, warning that the state's coffers were bare.

Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane referred Reuters to the presidency for comment.

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