ANC and opposition parties welcome Mboweni, praise Nene

Mcebisi Jonas

In the latest flare-up of a widening corruption scandal, South Africa's finance minister has resigned from his cabinet post for failing to disclose his meetings with the controversial Gupta business family.

Nene has become a divisive figure after testimony he gave last week at the Zondo inquiry into state capture, in which he admitted to the previously undisclosed visits.

It said the issue was likely to be raised at a meeting of the ANC later on Monday.

"Mr Nene served the people and government of South Africa with diligence and ability", Ramaphosa told reporters in Cape Town.

But Nene apologized last week after telling a commission of inquiry about visits that he made years ago to the businesses and home of the Gupta family, who along with Zuma deny any wrongdoing. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

"The Nene case shows how it is hard for Ramaphosa to change the country", Tresca said.

Mboweni, who trained as an economist, served as head of the South African Reserve Bank for a decade until 2009 and for four years as labour minister in former President Nelson Mandela's cabinet.

Other senior government officials who spoke to News24 on Monday said that Nene's decision "was in keeping with his character" and that "it is probably the right thing to do".

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"These ministers have demonstrated the same disregard of ethical conduct shown by Nene and like Nene they too have undermined parliament's accountability mechanisms", the EFF said in a statement.

He previously served as minister of finance from May 25, 2014, until his controversial removal by former President Jacob Zuma on December 9, 2015.

Nene, speaking under oath at the hearings, also said that his then deputy Mcebisi Jonas was offered his job after Nene refused to back the nuclear proposals.

With government debt at already dangerously high levels and the country at risk of losing its sole remaining investment-grade credit rating from Moody's Investors Service, Mboweni will have little option but to stick to the National Treasury's expenditure ceilings and deficit-reduction targets.

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.

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.

Tito Mboweni is set to deliver the medium-term budget policy statement in two weeks' time.

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