Ex-South African Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni will be replacing Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister after a public announcement revealed the former’s illicit association with a family, accused of large-scale corruption in the region.
In a televised address Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, "After due consideration of the circumstances around this matter and in the interest of good governance, I have decided to accept his resignation.
"It's a measure of his character and commitment to the country that he has decided to resign despite not being implicated in any wrongdoing,” Ramaphosa said.
Neen’s removal was brought on by what the president called “errors of judgment” or a series of rendezvous which transpired between 2010 and 2014 held at the Gupta family home, a wealthy Indian expat business family who were implicated in crimes of corruption in a 355-page report released by South African prosecutors in 2016.
After testifying in state inquiry at court last Wednesday, opposition political parties and members of the public called for the formerly anti-corruption-empowered official’s resignation for failing to denounce the meetings.
Although, according to court testimony, despite requests for Nene to intervene on behalf of the family and South Africa’s Executive Chairman of The Sekunjalo Group, Dr. Iqbal Surve, he refused.
Nene told members of the court, “I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence and not in my office or at least a public place. I say this being mindful of the fact that it is quite common practice, not only in South Africa but globally, for public office bearers to attend gatherings, including dinners, at residences of business people, fellow politicians, and other stakeholders.
“But context matters. As soon as I became aware of the controversy swirling around the family's business dealings, I should, subject to there being a legitimate reason for doing so, have met Guptas, at my office accompanied, as is customary, by a Ministry of Finance or National Treasury official,” Nene said.
This is not the first time a prominent member of Ramaphosa's cabinet has also been accused of corruption and this most recent incident may promote anti-corruption initiatives within his administration, analysts say.