SA's Nhlanhla Nene resigns; Tito Mboweni new finance minister

South Africa Finance minister resigns after he admits to meeting scam-accused Gupta family

Former South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene | AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former central bank Governor Tito Mboweni as his finance minister on Tuesday, replacing Nhlanhla Nene, who lied about his meetings with three businessmen accused of plundering state funds.

Nene's fall from grace came after he admitted to an anti-graft inquiry that he met members of the Gupta family at their home six times, contradicting statements in an earlier interview that he only encountered them at public events.

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.

"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 newspaper said.

"Mr Mboweni takes on this responsibility at a very critical time for our economy, as we intensify cooperation among all social partners in our country, to increase investment, to accelerate growth and create jobs on a much more substantial scale".

Mboweni was sworn-in immediately following the address.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says they will give Mboweni a fair chance.

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Mboweni was born on March 16, 1959, and he was the eighth governor of the South African Reserve Bank and the first black South African to hold the post.

After leaving the bank in 2009, Mboweni went into business, establishing his own investment company and serving on a number of company boards including as the chairperson of AngloGold Ashanti.

"This principled steadfastness, and his voluntary appearance at the commission of inquiry into state capture as the first sitting Cabinet minister, deserve recognition", SACP spokesperson Alex Mohubetswane said in a statement.

South Africa's Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene looks on ahead of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing state capture in Johannesburg, South Africa October 3, 2018.

The president has put it on record that he is concerned about the uncertainty in the markets regarding this matter.

"With his experience, the new finance minister will have the advantage of being able to hit the ground running and is, at least, known to market participants, ratings agencies and worldwide financial institutions, who closely follow events in South Africa".

Nene served as deputy finance minister and finance minister under former president Jacob Zuma. Four days later after pressure, Zuma had to backtrack on his decision and appoint Pravin Gordhan as minister.

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