Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Finance Minister Nhanhla Nene has resigned from his position. Tito Mboweni will replace him with immediate effect.
Ramaphosa said he had received a resignation letter from Nene and had decided to accept it.
"It's a measure of his character and commitment to the country that he has decided to resign despite not being implicated in any wrongdoing," the president said.
"I am confident that Mr Mboweni will bring the leadership that is needed now," Ramaphosa said.
"As former governor of the Reserve bank and before that as minister of labour Mr Mboweni brings with him vast experience in areas of finance, economic policy as well as governance."
There has been growing pressure from opposition political parties and the public for Nene to resign following his revelations at the Zondo commission.
Nene testified at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that he had visited the Gupta family’s Sahara Computer offices and their residence after he was invited to do so by Ajay Gupta. The several visits took place between 2010 and 2014 when he was deputy minister and after he was first appointed as finance minister.
He detailed how during one of the visits he was asked Nene to intervene in the dispute between the family and Dr Iqbal Survé, the Executive Chairman of The Sekunjalo Group, over the purchase of Independent Media Group.
The minister said he made it clear that he was unable to intervene.
Last week, Nene issued an emotional statement apologising to the nation for his lapse in judgment and his decision to visit the Gupta family home. He asked for forgiveness.
“I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence and not in my office or at least a public place. I say this being mindful of the fact that it is quite common practice, not only in South Africa but globally, for public office bearers to attend gatherings, including dinners, at residences of business people, fellow politicians, and other stakeholders,” he said.
“But context matters. As soon as I became aware of the controversy swirling around the family's business dealings, I should, subject to there being a legitimate reason for doing so, have met Guptas, at my office accompanied, as is customary, by a Ministry of Finance or National Treasury official,” said Nene.
Days after he denied abusing his position as the head of the Public Investment Corporation when he was the deputy minister of finance, fresh allegations emerged about business dealings involving his son.
The Mail&Guardian reported that the PIC spent millions investing in a company that was introduced to the corporation by Siyabonga Nene and his business partner Muhammad Amir Mirza.
The two had approached the PIC, through their company Indiafrec Trade and Investment, asking for the fund manager to fund the purchase of shares in a Mozambique company called S&S Refinery LDA.
At the time of the request Nene, Siyabonga’s father was the deputy minister of finance and as result the chairman of the PIC.
Nene was brought back as finance minister in February this year after President Cyril Ramaphosa's cabinet reshuffle.
He was fired from the same position in December 2015 by former president Jacob Zuma.
Nene told the Zondo commission that he believed that he was fired because of his refusal to approve projects favoured by Zuma which included the nuclear deal.
* Receive IOL's top stories via WhatsApp by sending your name to 0745573535.
IOL and Reuters