President Cyril Ramaphosa should accept Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s offer to resign
8 October 2018
The Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, has reportedly offered his resignation to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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.
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.
To his credit, the minister issued an apology expressing regret for his mistakes, which he conceded included poor judgement, and which he accepts casts a shadow over his conduct.
However, 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.
The minister 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.”
We find 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.
Issued by David Maynier, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, 8 October 2018