In Summary
  • Nene, who was widely respected by investors, served as finance minister from 2014 to 2015 until he was sacked by Zuma and was re-appointed by Ramaphosa earlier this year.

Cape Town

South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene resigned Tuesday over undisclosed meetings with the business family at the heart of a corruption scandal, dealing a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Nene was seen as one of Ramaphosa closest allies and a leading figure in the government's efforts to tackle graft that allegedly flourished under former president Jacob Zuma, who was ousted in February.

But Nene revealed to a judicial inquiry last week that he had met with the Gupta business family at their home and offices six times -- contradicting earlier statements that he had only met them in passing at social occasions.

"I have decided to accept his resignation," Ramaphosa told a televised press briefing in Cape Town.

He added that Nene feared his testimony to the inquiry "detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa particularly as we work to reestablish public trust in government."

Ramaphosa stressed that Nene "has not been implicated in any act of wrongdoing himself" and hailed him as minister who had "defended the cause of proper financial management as well as clean governance."

Nene, who was widely respected by investors, served as finance minister from 2014 to 2015 until he was sacked by Zuma and was re-appointed by Ramaphosa earlier this year.

Nene apologised after giving testimony to the inquiry, which is probing allegations of systematic corruption under Zuma's government involving the three Gupta brothers.

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