Parliament - President Jacob Zuma will be facing tough questions in Parliament next week over his fight with the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and the axing of the latter’s predecessor Nhlanhla Nene.
Political parties are demanding answers from Zuma on why he axed Nene and his decision to recall Gordhan.
Zuma has denied that he is at war with his finance minister, saying he is going to intervene to resolve the differences between Gordhan and South African Revenue Service boss Tom Moyane.
Moyane has been involved in a serious clash with Gordhan over the restructuring of Sars. The president has refused to take action against Moyane over his running battles with the minister of finance.
The battle has taken a nasty turn with Gordhan also refusing to meet the Hawks’ deadline last week to answer 27 questions on the “rogue unit” at Sars.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has denied that there was any sinister plot or political witch-hunt against the minister of finance.
He said the investigation of the Hawks would continue and the unit was seeking clarity on the existence of the “rogue unit”.
Nhleko also said last week that the Hawks investigation would determine whether there was a Cabinet decision to endorse the establishment of the unit.
In the questions sent to Zuma for his oral reply next week in the National Assembly, DA leader Mmusi Maimane is demanding a detailed explanation on his axing of Nene and the decision to recall Gordhan. He also wants to know who Zuma consulted for Gordhan to be reappointed to his old job.
The ANC’s senior leaders are on record that Zuma had met the top leaders of the party and business on his decision and the subsequent reversal of this decision.
ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize also admitted a few months ago that he had also met the top business leaders over the reversal of the decision.
The axing of Nene rattled the markets in December and wiped off billions of rand in the markets.
In addition to Maimane’s question, EFF leader Julius Malema wants to know who influenced Zuma to fire Nene. Malema said the decision by Zuma was based on an external party that instructed him to axe the then finance minister.
Nene is a nominee to head the Africa regional centre of the New Development Bank, but last month he told the Financial Mail that he had still not received a formal offer to join the Brics bank.
Brics has just started its operations in its headquarters in Shanghai, China, with the Treasury on Monday saying the regional centre in Joburg will start operating soon.
The Treasury said on Monday that the People’s Republic of China and the New Development Bank signed an agreement regarding the headquarters of the bank in Shanghai on February 27. This agreement marks the completion of legal procedures that pave the way for the bank to begin its operations. The bank was in the process of establishing its Africa regional centre in Joburg, as announced by Gordhan in his 2016 Budget Speech last month.
“This initiative gives impetus to our role as a financial centre for Africa, and will facilitate access to global finance by African investors and institutions,” Gordhan said in a statement.
According to the 2016 Budget Review, South Africa’s first instalment of R2 billion was paid in December last year, and the budget makes provision for further commitments over the medium term. The bank, which opened its headquarters in Shanghai in July 2015, is backed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics). The bank lends money to developing countries to help finance infrastructure projects and is seen as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.