Johannesburg - Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene thought that the Gupta family’s alleged offer to Mcebisi Jonas to take over his job was “just a bluff”.
This is according to details revealed in the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture in South Africa, which was released on Wednesday.
President Jacob Zuma sacked Nene on December 9 2015 in a move that sent the rand crashing and markets tumbling.
Zuma replaced Nene with Des van Rooyen. But days later, Zuma dropped Van Rooyen and instead hired Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister again.
Then in February this year, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas announced that he had turned down an offer from the Guptas last year to take up the position as Finance Minister.
Jonas subsequently told Madonsela that Ajay Gupta had “informed him that they had been gathering intelligence on him and those close to him”. Jonas said that Ajay Gupta then offered him the role of finance minister as well as a payment of R600m.
After Jonas turned down the offer, Jonas then said he phoned Nene to inform him of what happened.
Nene, in his interview with the public protector, confirmed the phone call.
“Mr Jonas informed him that he was offered a Cabinet post by members of the Gupta family shortly after the meeting had taken place,” the report says of Nene’s responses in the interview.
“He does not remember the exact date of the meeting but it was ‘a couple’ of months prior to his removal as minister of finance.
“At the time, there was speculation in the media about his removal. He therefore thought the alleged offer was just a ‘bluff’,” reads the report.