Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

South Africa's anti-graft body to investigate finance minister

South Africa's anti-graft body to investigate finance minister

Nene was seen as one of Ramaphosa's closest allies and a leading figure in the government's efforts to tackle graft that allegedly flourished under former president Jacob Zuma, who was ousted in February.

South Africa's finance minister has resigned after acknowledging missteps during the scandal-tainted tenure of former president Jacob Zuma while testifying in a corruption inquiry.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

The office of the Public Protector said on Tuesday it would look into a complaint by the main opposition Democratic Alliance party about the investment, carried out when Nene was chairman of the fund and deputy finance minister.

Although Nene has since apologised for lying about meeting the Guptas, he made a decision to step down from his role.

Ramaphosa announced that he had accepted Nene's letter of resignation "in the interests of good governance" on Tuesday morning after Nene said there was risk that the developments around his testimony at the State capture commission will detract from the important task of serving the people of South Africa.

"I have chose to accept his resignation", Ramaphosa told a televised press briefing in Cape Town.

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

The rand gained 0.9 percent to 14.71 per dollar by 5:25 pm in Johannesburg, reversing an earlier decline of as much as 1.4 percent on the news.

This, as EFF leader Julius Malema challenged the president on Monday to accept Nene's resignation.

Jonas told a judicial panel last month that Ajay Gupta offered him the post of finance minister and a R600 million ($40.3 million) bribe in exchange for business concessions.

Despite heavy pressure from Mr. Zuma in 2015, Mr. Nene refused to give his approval to a massive nuclear energy project that could have cost up to US$100-billion and would have benefited the Guptas, who owned a uranium mine.

"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 Mail and Guardian reports that his son Siyabonga was involved in a deal with the Public Investment Corporation when Nene was its chairperson. He served as labour minister in the cabinet of former president Nelson Mandela in the mid-1990s and was widely praised for his work as the governor of the South African Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2009.

In congratulating Mboweni, the DA's finance spokesperson David Maynier commented that he had been "plucked from political obscurity" to be appointed as Nene's replacement.

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