Nhlanhla Nene’s surprise replacement with Des van Rooyen sent the country’s economy into freefall until Pravin Gordhan was shifted back into the post.
FILE: Nhlanhla Nene pictured with Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.
CAPE TOWN – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan wants the state capture inquiry to probe the sequence of events around Nhlanhla Nene removal as Finance Minister in 2015.
Nene’s surprise replacement with Des van Rooyen sent the country’s economy into freefall until Gordhan was shifted back into the post.
In an affidavit submitted to the Zondo Commission and leaked to the media, Gordhan says it’s worth noting that Nene was removed only days after a Gupta associate sought to get his approval for a joint venture company with state arms manufacturer Denel.
Gordhan’s due to testify before the commission next week, but his submission was leaked to the media late on Wednesday night.
Nene was removed as Finance Minister on a Wednesday night without having given the go-ahead for Denel to join forces with Gupta-linked company VR Laser.
His successor Van Rooyen spent only four days in office before Jacob Zuma’s hand was forced to remove him, meaning he couldn’t sign off the partnership either.
Van Rooyen’s appointment caused financial market turmoil and precipitated a major currency crash.
In his leaked submission to the Zondo Commission, Gordhan says it was he who approached an official in the Presidency to suggest a plan for damage control.
Gordhan says over the weekend following Van Rooyen’s appointment, he received messages from both Deputy President at the time Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, informing him that the president was going to ask him to do something and advising him not to refuse the request.
He says he was called to the president’s residence on the Sunday evening where Zuma told him that he still believed Van Rooyen was qualified for the position but that he wanted Gordhan to take the reins of Treasury for a second time, in order to calm the markets.
After suggesting alternative candidates, Gordhan says he made the swap with Van Rooyen and once again took control of the country’s fiscus.
(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)