Ramaphosa appoints new finance minister

Ramaphosa appoints new finance minister

Ramaphosa appoints new finance minister

Mcebisi Jonas declined an offer to replace Nhlanhla Nene as South Africa's finance minister, spurring President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider central bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and one of his predecessors, Tito Mboweni, for the job, according to three people familiar with the matter.

But Nene's opponents say he was involved in corrupt deals with the Guptas when he was deputy finance minister and head of the state pension fund.

Mboweni, the nation's fifth finance chief in less than three years, will have to oversee an economy that's fallen into recession and help Ramaphosa rebuild confidence battered by nearly nine years of mismanagement under former President Jacob Zuma.

"It is a measure of his character and his commitment to the national interest that he has taken this decision to resign in the wake of errors of judgment‚ even though he has not been implicated in acts of wrongdoing".

The Guptas have been accused of having undue influence over former president Jacob Zuma and his executive, as well as operations at state owned enterprises which it used to loot billions from SA.

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.

By accepting Mr. Nene's resignation, Mr. Ramaphosa is setting a tough new standard for corruption issues.


Political parties have rejected Nene's apology.

As the country moves on from the saga, Nene is yet to shed more light on his meetings with Guptas, but he goes down as Cabinet's first victim of the state capture inquiry.

Until the latest revelations, Mr. Nene was widely seen as a hero of the resistance to corruption. Nene said during his testimony to the inquiry he was sacked in December 2015 for refusing to agree to Zuma's plans to spend billions of dollars on new nuclear plants.

Nene is not the only minister in Ramaphosa's cabinet over whom a cloud hangs. The nuclear project was eventually shelved.

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

Ramaphosa said Mboweni, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank, brings in much-needed leadership.

"Mboweni possesses the necessary integrity, skills set and experience which can generate confidence in the markets, among investors and generally in the business community", said Raymond Parsons, a professor at the North West University's School of Business and Governance.

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