Four months after being unceremoniously fired from the finance ministry, former minister Nhlanhla Nene has moved on – and taken a job in the private sector.
This flies in the face of the reasons given by president Jacob Zuma as to why Nene was dismissed from the finance portfolio, and replaced with the then-unknown ANC back-seater, Des van Rooyen.
On 12 December 2015, president Jacob Zuma announced a surprise shuffle in his cabinet, firing Nene as the country’s finance minister. The move caught everyone unawares – including markets, which responded negatively to the announcement, sending the rand into a tailspin.
With the rand falling as far as R17.99 to the dollar, in a matter of hours, Zuma effectively wiped as much as R500 billion from the South African economy, and was called to provide a reason why he would make such a far-reaching decision.
According to Zuma, the reason why Nene had to be fired was because he needed to be free to take up the top position at the BRICS Development Bank, and that the government was fully supporting his candidature.
However, months after being fired, Nene had still not received any offer to take up that job.
Speaking to eNCA, Nene revealed that he has now taken a position in the private sector after 4 months of being unemployed – though he would not say where.
According to the former minister, he was also surprised by his firing – and he was even more surprised by the far-reaching consequences of the move.
He told eNCA that the statement from the presidency giving reasons for the move was a public statement, and that he has “no reason to speculate on any other reason other than what the President said”.
During his tenure at the finance ministry, Nene worked against unchecked government spending, and was also against the proposed nuclear build which could cost the country hundreds of billions of rand.
It was speculated that the real reason for Nene being fired was his refusal to buckle to demands from Zuma’s cadre deployments at state-owned companies like SAA, but Nene dismissed this.
Following his axing, Nene resigned as a member of Parliament.