Nhlanhla Nene speaks: sitting tight and watching the show

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. (Bloomberg)
Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. (Bloomberg)

Pietermaritzburg - Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, whose sacking wiped about R500bn from the country’s equity markets, is keeping up to date with the Gupta controversy.

He read news reports yesterday that the Gupta family had left South Africa aboard a private jet.

He also read the reports on the two “Gupta ministers” — David van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane — who have been accused of conducting secret trips to Dubai at the same time that the family were visiting.

But for now, Nene said that he is preoccupied with other matters at his home in KwaZulu-Natal and did not want to weigh in on the political battles that have rocked South Africa.

“Until I make my next move, I am enjoying intimate time with my family, and also doing my gardening,” he said when contacted telephonically.

Nene, who has three adult children — the youngest of whom has just started a social science degree at the University of Cape Town — said he was constantly approached to comment and get involved. “But I am no longer a public figure, I don’t need to react for now.”

Nene had not yet heard anything regarding the Brics bank post that President Jacob Zuma used as a reason for unceremoniously removing him as minister last December.

Asked whether he would take the post if formally offered to him, Nene said: “That will depend on the profile of the job.”

Zuma had said Nene was the preferred candidate to head the Africa Regional Centre of the new bank.

Nene said he would return to public life: “Just watch this space,” he said.

Nene’s sacking four months ago triggered a series of controversies, allegations and damaging revelations around state capture, particularly the role of the Gupta family, and aggravated power struggles within the ANC.

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