Following a public apology for meeting the Gupta brothers at their Saxonwold home instead of a public place, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has asked to be relieved of his duties, according to a Business Day report on Monday.
According to the newspaper, Nene approached the Presidency this past weekend following his apology on Friday for not disclosing that he had met with members of the politically connected family on various occasions.
Last week, Nene told the commission of inquiry into state capture that he met with the Guptas four times between 2010 and 2013. There had been an additional meeting in 2014 when the family’s patriarch Ajay had — according to Nene — attempted to extract information from him. What the information pertains to is not known.
Nene said that he did not disclose these meetings to President Cyril Ramaphosa prior to his reappointment as finance minister this year as, Nene believed, the meetings were “PR exercises”.
Nene’s apology was not based on the fact that he met with the Guptas but rather that he met with them at their residence not at his office.
In the days following the finance minister’s appearance before the commission and his apology, political parties have called for him to step down.
In another report from Bloomberg, it was reported that factions within the ANC have already begun discussing replacements for Nene. Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and Barbara Creecy are some of the names that have been suggested, Bloomberg reported.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that Nene had been the head of the Public Investment Corporation when his son, Siyabonga Nene, approached the state-owned fund manager for an investment into his business partner’s Mozambique venture.
Nene is scheduled to partake in a banking summit at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg on Monday morning, and the meeting to discuss Nene’s request to be removed from his position will reportedly also happen on Monday.