South African finance minister Nene resigns over Gupta scandal

South African finance minister Nene resigns over Gupta scandal

South African finance minister Nene resigns over Gupta scandal

"Minister Nene this morning submitted a letter of resignation to me in which he requested that I should relieve him of his position as finance minister".

Outgoing. Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene during the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture where he is testifying.

The three Gupta brothers, who are allies of former President Jacob Zuma, were implicated by the former anti-graft ombudsman in influencing government appointments and the award of state contracts - allegations they and Zuma deny.

The ANC forced Zuma to quit as president in February, clearing the way for his 65-year-old deputy and party leader Ramaphosa to take over.

Markets heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday when President Cyril Ramaphosa named Tito Mboweni as the new finance chief, bringing to an end the uncertainty that hung over local markets. This is the fifth change of finance minister since 2014. On these grounds, and in the interest of good governance, Ramaphosa accepted the resignation. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

Nene had served the government and people of SA with diligence and "under hard circumstances", and he had come under "great pressure", said Ramaphosa.

Rumours of his intended resignation on Monday led to a fall in the value of South Africa's currency, the rand, but it has since recovered its value.

But Nene's confession at the inquiry came as a surprise, as he had previously denied meeting with the politically connected family, telling eNCA in April 2016 that he had only seen them during "public gatherings". He is urging those ministers and other senior officials to follow Mr. Nene's example by volunteering to give testimony at the national inquiry into corruption so that their conduct can be reviewed.

It's understood the minister offered to resign during a phone call to the president.

The rand firmed, moments before Mboweni, was announced Finance Minister at a ceremony in Cape Town.

"I am confident that Mr Mboweni will provide that leadership‚" he said.

"Government sources said Nene approached Ramaphosa after the highly negative public reaction to his apology to South Africans on Friday for the meetings with the Gupta family when he served under Zuma", the South African newspaper said.

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