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South Africa's Finance Minister Resigns Over Corruption Links With Guptas
10 October 2018, 08:33 | Erica Roy
Nhlanhla Nene claims he was initially fired in 2015 for refusing to compromise his position
In his letter asking Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties, Nene said he was anxious his testimony at the state capture inquiry would detract from his ability to serve and efforts to restore trust in the government.
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.
Meanwhile, Malema - in a written letter to Ramaphosa on Monday - said SA was undergoing serious economic difficulties, and one of the ingredients in an economic recovery was a credible finance minister.
Nine years after leaving his post as governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni is has been appointed as the nation's finance minister and faces the unenviable task of reviving an economy that's mired in recession.
The Guptas, who built a vast business empire in the mining and media industries in South Africa after forging a partnership with the son of former president Jacob Zuma, are now under criminal investigation on corruption allegations. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".
Zuma ruled for nearly nine years before the governing African National Congress forced him to quit in February and replaced him with his 65-year-old deputy and party leader, Ramaphosa.
The ANC applauded both Nene and Ramaphosa for the development, calling the president's decision to accept the resignation bold, decisive and timely.
Mr. Nene had committed "errors of judgment" but was not personally implicated in any wrongdoing, Mr. Ramaphosa said in his announcement on Tuesday.
Until the latest revelations, Mr. Nene was widely seen as a hero of the resistance to corruption.
Nene said he believed he was sacked because he refused to "toe the line" on projects, including a since-abandoned deal for nuclear energy, that may have benefited the Gupta family and other Zuma associates.
It's understood the minister offered to resign during a phone call to the president. The nuclear project was eventually shelved.
Weekend reports indicated that Nene's future as finance minister was on shaky ground following his admission to the meetings, with some claiming Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy could be his replacement.
In congratulating Mboweni, the DA's finance spokesperson David Maynier commented that he had been "plucked from political obscurity" to be appointed as Nene's replacement. He served as labour minister in the cabinet of former president Nelson Mandela in the mid-1990s and was widely praised for his work as the governor of the South African Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2009.
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