President Cyril Ramaphosa should accept Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s reported offer to resign over the controversy surrounding his visits to the controversial Gupta family, the main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Monday.
Nene last Friday apologised for not disclosing early and fully the details of his meetings with the family, close friends of former president Jacob Zuma, saying he realised the visits to their Saxonwold compound cast a shadow on his conduct as a public office bearer.
On Monday Business Day reported that Nene had asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties after some political parties rejected his apology.
DA shadow minister of finance David Maynier acknowledged that Nene had stood up to Zuma over a controversial nuclear deal which cost him his job in an earlier stint as finance minister in 2015, but said he had still exercised poor judgement in meeting the Guptas.
“To his credit, the minister issued an apology expressing regret for his mistakes, which he conceded included poor judgement, and which he accepts casts a shadow over his conduct,” Maynier said.
“However, in the end, the minister’s conduct, taken together with the fact that he is likely to be the subject of at least two ongoing investigations, which will drag on for months, now risks compromising public confidence in National Treasury.
“We find it hard to believe that, under the circumstances, the minister has the full support of President Ramaphosa,” he added, recalling that Ramaphosa in his inaugural state of the nation address in February pledged to stem the tide of corruption in public institutions.
“We believe, therefore, that President Ramaphosa should accept the minister’s offer to resign and act swiftly to replace him before the medium-term budget policy statement is presented in parliament,” Maynier added.