Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).
Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Shivambu tried to influence Nene on VBS matter, inquiry hears

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 14, 2019

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Johannesburg - Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene says EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu tried to influence him against placing embattled VBS bank under curatorship.

Nene told the Zondo commission on Thursday that he believes his decision to support the effort to place VBS under curatorship may have influenced the EFF’s hostile attitude towards him days before he was expected to appear at the inquiry last year. 

The former minister said early in 2018 after he was appointed,  he received an SMS from Shivambu who told him to consider the position of the bank and that it would sad that a black bank is placed under curatorship. 

Shivambu’s brother had been implicated in the VBS scandal as having received a share of money looted at the bank. 

Nene said it was clear that Shivambu was trying to influence his decision. 

"I did not succumb to this kind of pressure because this was meant to influence my decision," Nene 

The former minister also reflected on his testimony about his visits to the Gupta compound in Saxonworld and businesses. 

He visited the Guptas eight times in total while he was deputy finance minister and minister of finance. 

He said he never saw anything wrong at the time in visiting the family as they were business people, but now in hindsight, he did regret the decision. 
When asked by commission chair deputy justice Raymond Zondo why he had visited the family, he said felt compelled to honour the invite as the Guptas were friends with former president Jacob Zuma. 

The former minister also used his testimony at the Zondo commission to deny dozens of accusations levelled against him by the EFF. 

Advocate Paul Pretorius, the leader of the commission's legal team, posed a series of questions to Nene regarding unfounded allegations that had been levelled against him for months. 

Nene first appeared at the inquiry late last year and before his appearance, the EFF made a series of accusations against Nene. 

The party claimed Nene was appointed as finance minister in 2014 to push the Gupta's agenda. He was accused, along with his wife, of having an offshore account. 

When asked about this, Nene said he believes these accusations which came days before was set to appear, were meant to discredit him and his evidence. 

Nene also denied influencing Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board in order to benefit his son. Last year, the Mail&Guardian reported that Nene's son was involved in oil refinery business dealing which sought funding from the PIC. 

Nene was the deputy minister of finance at the time and he chaired the PIC board. 

Nene denied that he used his position on the PIC board to benefit his son. He said he found out from his son after he was no longer deputy finance minister. 

He also told the commission that he did not attend the infamous Gupta wedding and said he declined the invitation. He also said he received no benefit from the Guptas and was not given money or gifts. 

Nene has concluded his testimony. On Friday the commission will hear from Nene’s former deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

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