Does Nhlanhla Nene still have the full support of the president?

03 October 2018: Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Finance South Africa. Is seen at the commission of inquiry into state capture that is chaired by the deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.Picture: Thapelo Morebudi.

President Cyril Ramaphosa should break his silence and tell the nation whether Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has his full support ahead of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement being presented in Parliament later this month.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) made this call following a report in the Sunday Times that said when Nene was reappointed to cabinet in February‚ he did not disclose to Ramaphosa that he had seven meetings with the Guptas during his previous stint as finance minister and as deputy minister before that.

The Sunday Times said Ramaphosa was apparently unaware that Nene was to make an apology to the nation on Friday for meeting the Guptas at their Saxonwold home rather than at his office.

Ramaphosa was said to be “very shocked” at the revelations of Nene’s relationship with the Guptas but was understood to have not yet discussed the matter and the future of the finance ministry with him‚ the newspaper said.

The DA said despite Nene providing evidence several days ago to the Zondo Commission‚ Ramaphosa had maintained his silence on this matter.

“The question that President Cyril Ramaphosa now needs to answer is whether the minister still has his ‘full support’‚ and he needs to answer the question before the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement is presented in Parliament‚” DA shadow minister of finance David Maynier said.

Maynier said the country could not afford the uncertainty that would surround what would effectively be a “lame duck” finance minister‚ who may‚ or may not‚ have the full support of the president.

Maynier said he had‚ in any event‚ forced Ramaphosa’s hand by submitting a parliamentary question to the president on whether Nene had offered to resign before providing evidence to the Zondo Commission and whether Nene had the full support of the president.

“It is now time for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step up and break his silence‚ and tell us whether Nhlanhla Nene has his full support ahead of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement being presented in Parliament.”

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