With the likelihood of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s resignation growing by the hour, attention is now focused on who is likely to replace him should he quit.
News24 reported earlier on Monday that it had independently confirmed that Nene has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties.
While speculation can be hazardous, there are two names for the position of new finance minister we think you should get to know. These are Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, and the MEC for Finance in Gauteng, Barbara Creecy.
Other than former President Jacob Zuma’s shock installation of Des van Rooyen as finance minister for a weekend in 2015, the set pattern is for the deputy finance minister to step into the role. This is how both Nene and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan were chosen.
If President Cyril Ramaphosa has to choose a new finance minister and if he follows this pattern, then the role will go to Gungubele, with Creecy possibly taking the position of deputy.
Mondli Gungubele and Barbara Creecy
Gungubele is a former mayor of Ekurhuleni and a seasoned politician from Gauteng. Before going into local government, he was an MEC for Sports and Recreation in the province and also served as the MEC for Finance. The commerce graduate has a nursing diploma and is well-regarded by the Ramaphosa administration.
Creecy is Gungubele’s political senior. Her pedigree is that she has run an efficient and innovative provincial treasury. Under her, the finance department has been cleaned up and it has won six service awards run by both the national and provincial governments.
A veteran of the UDF, Creecy has been in government since 1994 and has been in provincial executive committees since 2004. This makes her one of the most senior provincial politicians in the country. She won kudos for her no-nonsense testimony before former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke in the Life Esidimeni hearings when she denied that the programme to migrate mentally vulnerable people from the Life institutions to fly-by-night NGOs was a cost-cutting measure.
Nene is said to have been shamed and shocked by how his testimony to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was received last Wednesday. While the bulk of his testimony was devoted to how the Treasury had delayed and obfuscated to prevent the signing of a R1trn nuclear deal, it was his 11 visits to the Gupta family which has shocked the nation.
It also transpired that Nene lied in 2015 when he told television interviewers that he had not visited the family; in testimony before the commission it turned out that he had met them at least 11 times from 2009 to 2014.
In a statement he personally crafted on Friday, Nene said, "In return for the faith and trust you have placed on me, I owe you conduct as a public office bearer that is beyond reproach. But I am human too, I do make mistakes, including those of poor judgement.
"It is reasonable for the public to expect public office bearers to own up fully and timeously to the mistakes they make in the course of carrying out their public duties. I should have disclosed early, and fully, the detail of these meetings, in particular, those that took place in Saxonwold."
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