Nene: Zuma fired me because I refused to toe the 'Gupta line'

03 October 2018 - 10:31
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. File photo.

Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has told the Zondo commission that his refusal to approve the nuclear deal and the SAA strategy led to his sudden dismissal by former president Jacob Zuma in December 2015.

“I believe that I was removed from office because of my refusal to toe the line in relation to certain projects. In hindsight, it seems that those projects may have benefited the Gupta family and other close associates of the president,” Nene said in his statement to the commission sitting in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Nene said the nuclear deal and funding for SAA, like other procurement processes within government and state-owned companies, “were subject to intense scrutiny by National Treasury”.

“The Minister of Finance works under pressure, particularly when it comes to approving decisions that would have implications for the fiscus. Sometimes the Minister of Finance is referred to as ‘Mr No’ when government departments are advised that their proposals must fall within the Cabinet-approved medium term policy, strategic and fiscal framework and comply with governance requirements and agreed policies,” Nene said.

“This is why the optimal relationship is for any minister of finance to have the full support of the president at all times.”

His testimony continues.