|Photo: Thapelo Morebudi|
The Commission of Inquiry is proving that the state captures is far reaching then we had thought, even those we had assumed were morally upright.
The Commission has also shown the Guptas operate. This comes after the shocking revelation from the minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene that he met with the Guptas at their home in Saxonworld, Johannesburg between 2010 and 2014, as deputy minister and minister.
Nene is not the only one to have admitted that he had held a meeting with the Guptas at their home. Former CEO of the Government Communications and Information Systems, Themba Maseko also admitted that he held a meeting with the Guptas in their comes, regardless of it being unprofessional.
The Finance minister has since apologised to the nation in a fallow letter, saying that the meeting was a “mistake”, adding that “I owe you conduct as a public office bearer that is beyond reproach. But, I am human too, I do make mistakes, including those of poor judgement.”
What I fail to understand is how several meetings can be considered to be a mistake. Nene must come out with the whole truth that he was aware of the dealings with the Gupta and maybe did reap some financial benefits.
Nene has since requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire him. I hold that for Nene to salvage what is left of his credibility and integrity he should not wait to be fired but rather do the honourable thing and resign. Thuli Mandonsela, former public protector cautions that it’s too early to question Nene’s integrity that we should wait for him to give us more reasons why he met with the family in their private home. However, we should not even wait for more reasons because Nene acted in an unprofessional manner, outside his scope of practice.
Further, the lies have shattered his credibility and integrity because it leaves South Africans wondering about what other information is he withholding. Mandonsela is giving Nene a leeway, as if he did not have an agency, as a public servant he should have revealed these meeting before even appearing in the commission.
Nhlanhla Nene is therefore guilty of non-disclosure because we automatically conclude that there is a perceived wrong-doing by meeting with the Guptas in their own home, as a public office bearer.
Contrary to Mandonsela’s views, Nhlanhla Nene knows and admits “I should also have disclosed early, and fully, the details of these meetings, in particular those that took place in Saxonwold. I therefore failed to live up to those ideals. These visits do cast a shadow on my conduct as a public office bearer.” The Economic Freedom Fighters has since called for the regimentation of Nene, stating that he lied under oath.
Others have argued that firing Nene or him stepping down as Minister of Finance would lead to a negative impact on the economy, however Economists Azar Jammine disagrees. He says that the resignation won’t have any impact because it is the minister’s credibility that is in question and not that of Treasury. He further says that there are other people such as Mcebisi Jonas who are capable of stepping in as minister of finance.
By Mpumelelo Phakathi