Allan Gray is ‘happy’ to have Nhlanhla Nene on board


Allan Gray has officially welcomed its new non-executive director – former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene – to the fold.

The investment management firm has confirmed that Nene was appointed at a board meeting this morning.

“We are very happy to have someone of Mr Nene’s experience on our board, and we are grateful that he chose to accept the appointment. We are looking forward to his strategic and leadership contribution to the board,” said Ian Liddle, Allan Gray chairperson of the board, in a statement. 

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 being provided for his axing.

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.

Nhlanhla Nene

“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 last month closed applications on its website for its African regional centre director-general.

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

When asked by eNCA about whether he was going to start a new job soon, Nene said “watch this space”.

“Gardening leave is going to end shortly,” he added.

In the eNCA interview, Nene said found out about this removal from this position on December 9, the day that Zuma announced it.

“I never anticipated the removal,” he added. “It was not entirely a shock but I didn’t expect it.

The meeting with Zuma to discuss this departure was “very short”, he added. The reason Zuma gave him was that he wanted to deploy him to the Brics Bank, which is known as the New Development Bank. As a loyal ANC cadre, Nene said he didn’t question the Zuma’s judgment.

Nene said he was surprised by the magnitude of the market response to his replacement as finance minister.

Regarding the talk of “state capture” by the Gupta family, Nene said that the national treasury was a very solid department and the custodian of public finance.

Nene said he had bumped into the Guptas once or twice but he never had an engagement with them.

He said he was grateful to Zuma and the ANC for allowing him to serve as finance minister as he was getting a lot of offers as a result of the time he spent as head of the national treasury.

In answer to a question about this performance, Nene said the global economy had not been at its best during the time he had served.

“We did the best that we could,” he added. 

Regarding the #ZumaMustFall protests that followed from his firing, Nene said that some people had abused his removal.

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