The rand headed towards R15/$ for the first time in three weeks as pressure mounted on Nene to quit. While giving testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture last week, Nene admitted to a clandestine meeting with the controversial family who is said to have played a large part in the alleged state capture.
Business Day reported on Monday that Nene had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties following the public outcry after his Zondo commission testimony. But the DA’s David Maynier (MP) said Nene needs to resign immediately.
“To be fair, the minister courageously stood up to former President Jacob Zuma by opposing the nuclear build programme, which eventually cost him his job when he was fired in a meeting that lasted just ‘two or three minutes’ on 09 December 2015,” said Maynier, “however the minister:
- exercised poor judgement meeting inter alia Ajay Gupta at Saxonwold, after becoming suspicious of the family’s intentions, most probably as a result of an investigation being conducted by National Treasury;
- may have breached the executive code of ethics as a result of a Public Investment Corporation investment that may have benefited his son, Siyabonga Nene; and
- failed to disclose any of this information, prior to his appointment as finance minister, to President Cyril Ramaphosa.”
Despite Nene’s apology expressing regret for his mistakes, which he conceded included poor judgement, and which he accepts casts a shadow over his conduct, Maynier says “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.”
Nene himself pointed out in his evidence before the Zondo Commission that:
“…the optimal relationship is for the Minister of Finance to have the full support of the President at all times.”
The DA said it finds it hard to believe that, under the circumstances, the minister has the “full support” of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who stated, in his State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018, that:
“…this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.”
“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,” says the official opposition party.