FINANCE Minister Nhlanhla Nene prepares to testify at the state capture inquiry this week.
Johannesburg - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is not out of the woods yet. Some political parties are gunning for him and want action taken against him for dealing with the Gupta family.

On Friday, Nene asked for South Africans’ forgiveness regarding his decision to visit the family’s businesses and Saxonworld residence.

He testified at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that he had visited the family’s Sahara Computer offices and residence after he was invited by Ajay Gupta.

The visits took place between 2010 and 2014 when he was deputy minister and after he was first appointed as finance minister.

In a detailed emotional statement, Nene said, in hindsight, he shouldn’t have visited the family home and instead should have organised that the meetings take place in a public space.

“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 that it is 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.

Eyebrows have also been raised over the fact that Nene allegedly used his position as chairman of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to do favours for the Gupta family and own his son, Siyabonga Nene.

The DA wants Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to probe allegations, particularly of PIC’s involvement in an investment deal linked to Nene’s son.

The party said despite Nene’s denial that he ever acted inappropriately while he was deputy minister of finance and chairperson of the PIC, the allegations against him were too serious and needed to be investigated.

Meanwhile, the EFF has called on Nene to resign as it believes his continued stay as the minister is not in the best interests of the country.

But in a week that has proved tough, Nene has ensured that it is business as usual.

The man controlling the country’s purse has since allocated an additional R2 billion to drought-stricken provinces and municipalities, but set strict conditions for spending the money.

The allocation will be used to assist with agricultural support, land care, disaster relief and recovery, as well as water infrastructure.

Nene insisted that the infrastructure built with the money be secured to prevent from acts of vandalism. Recipient provinces and municipalities must also provide the National Treasury with detailed breakdowns of components funded through their allocations and set aside adequate funds for sustainable operations and maintenance.

Of the R1.98bn additional allocation, provinces will receive R266.5 million for comprehensive agricultural support, R200m for land care and another R200m for disaster relief.

Municipalities will share a R288.1m water services infrastructure grant and R1.03bn for municipal disaster recovery.

Political Bureau