South Africa gets new Finance Minister as Nene resigns over Gupta scandal

South Africa’s finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has resigned his position following last Wednesday’s testimony where he admitted meeting members of the Gupta family, who have been accused of corruption.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said he accepted the resignation “in the interests of good governance”.

In his speech accepting the resignation, Mr Ramaphosa said that Mr Nene had “defended the cause of proper financial management and clean governance”.

But he had accepted the resignation because Mr Nene feared his testimony “detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa as we work to re-establish public trust in government”, Mr Ramaphosa said.

Pressure has mounted on Nene to resign since his testimony, with main opposition David Maynier, a member of parliament from main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party requesting the Public Protector to investigate claims of breach of the executive code of ethics against him.

Although, Nene apologised on Friday for his indiscretion in not meeting the Guptas at a public place, calls for his resignation and investigation by the country’s anti-graft body did not reduce. The Gupta brothers who relocated to South Africa from India in 1993 have built a business empire and wield much political influence. They are the subject of the State of Capture 2016 report published by the country’s prosecutors leading to an Inquiry  to which Nene testified last week.

Following a report by local newspaper Business Day on Monday that Nene had asked President Ramaphosa to sack him, the rand was weaker early on Monday, showing investor sentiments in favour of Nene whose 2015 sack by then President Jacob Zuma drew a similar reaction. Hence, some people in the investor community expected Nene to keep his job. More so, reports say Nene was preparing to go to Indonesia for an Indonesia for the International Monetary Fund meeting. Thus, his resignation came as a surprise.

Ramaphosa had since appointed Tito Mboweni as Nene’s replacement. Mboweni became South Africa’s first black central bank governor in 1999 and led the apex bank for a decade. He is considered highly experienced and trusted.

The rand strengthened following Mboweni’s appointment closing at 14.57 to a dollar on Tuesday.

South Africa