Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has told the state capture inquiry that he believes he was fired in 2015 because of his refusal to implement certain projects including the nuclear deal. 

Nene was giving testimony at the inquiry on Wednesday. He believes he was removed as minister of finance on December 9, 2015, because he refused to release funds for certain projects. 

"I believe I was removed from office because of my refusal to toe the line in relation to certain projects. In hindsight, it seems that those projects may have benefited the Gupta family and other close associates," said Nene. 

These projects Nene said referred to the nuclear deal, which was punted by former president Jacob Zuma, and the projects within SAA. The SAA deals dealt with the approval of a proposal from the SAA board for the restructure of the reflecting transaction with Airbus in 2015. 

When he was fired, he was replaced by then ANC MP backbencher Des van Rooyen, who was later removed after only serving four days as the minister of finance. 

Nene also told the inquiry about accusations contained in a secret document called "project spider web" which detailed accusations against him and certain Treasury officials. The document surfaced months before he was fired in  2015. 

He said he was concerned that the document was going to be used to attack the National Treasury. He said Treasury issued a statement in August 2015 refuting the claims contained in the document. 

Nene said after the document surfaced, Treasury officials knew they had to be alert possible attacks on the Treasury. 

The inquiry continues. 

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