South Africa’s finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene has asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to sack him, following repeated calls for him to step down on account of his admission to have met the Gupta brothers at their Saxonwold home between 2010 and 2013.
The Business Day newspaper reported on Monday that Nene asked Ramaphosa, who appointed him finance minister last year, to relieve him of his duties over the weekend.
“Government sources said Nene approached Ramaphosa after the highly negative public reaction to his apology to South Africans on Friday for the meetings with the Gupta family when he served under Zuma,” the South African newspaper said.
Nene becomes divisive figure
Nene had on Friday apologised to South Africans for meeting the controversial Gupta brothers at their home, rather than in his office.
Nene’s disclosure of the meetings during his testimony to the inquiry into allegations of corruption by the Guptas has fuelled fierce debate in South Africa.
The Guptas have been severally accused by different government officials and activists of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma, to enrich themselves in what has since come to be known as ‘state-capture’.
While Nene had been previously praised for standing up to Zuma on crucial issues, the public was angry that he had also visited the Guptas Johannesburg home that has repeatedly been cited in dubious deals between the government and the wealthy family.
Nene also told the state-capture inquiry that he was fired by Zuma in December 2015 for blocking deals that would have benefited the Guptas, particularly a $100 billion nuclear power deal with Russia that could have crippled Africa’s most developed economy.
Opposition leader, Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters on Sunday took to Twitter saying ‘it looks like going to the streets to have this guy removed is unavoidable’.
It looks like going to the streets to have this guy removed is unavoidable. ?
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) October 7, 2018
Nene’s future is likely to be decided during a meeting of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Monday.