Nene accepts a full-time position – and it’s not at the New Development Bank

Nhlanhla Nene
Nhlanhla Nene

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene today shut the door on any lingering ideas that he might work for the New Development Bank when Thebe Investment Corporation announced he would join them full-time. 

Thebe said that Nene would join them as a resident adviser for two years with effect from May 1. 

“While this is a full-time appointment, Mr Nene will continue with his non-executive directorships that were declared prior to this appointment because these are not in conflict with his envisaged role at Thebe,” the company added. 

“We believe that Mr Nene’s immense skills will be most valuable to Thebe at this time. We are pleased, as the Thebe team, to welcome him on board. We trust that this role will enable him to make the contribution that we believe he is capable of making, while he realises his own professional aspirations,” Thebe said. 

Earlier this week, fund manager Allan Gray announced that Nhlanhla Nene had joined them as a non-executive director. 

Nene, who was unceremoniously sacked from his position as finance minister in December, resigned from Parliament a few days later. He was replaced by a little-known backbencher Des van Rooyen. 

Zuma reassigned Van Rooyen to a new portfolio four days later following the performance of the rand, and appointed Pravin Gordhan to his old portfolio as finance minister. 

The reason for the shock at the time was that Zuma fired Nene without any explanation. 

Two days after removing Nene, Zuma said: “The urgency of the changes in the leadership of the national treasury was occasioned by the need to send nominations to Shanghai, of the head of the African regional centre of the New Development Bank ... Nene is our candidate for this position.” 

Last month, Leslie Maasdorp, the bank’s chief financial officer, told City Press that Nene would be “considered” for the role of director-general of the New Development Bank’s African regional office, because the South African government had formally nominated Nene for the position. 

“He was nominated for the role, so he will be considered. However, the New Development Bank does have its own processes and it is independent of the member countries,” Maasdorp said at the time. 

On March 28, the New Development Bank job closed applications on its website for its African regional centre director-general. 

Earlier this month, Nene said in an interview with eNCA: “I have not heard from the bank to this point ... The Brics Bank job has not come up.” 

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