Nene: ‘Hard to say no to the Guptas’

Nene: ‘Hard to say no to the Guptas’

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene told the commission of inquiry into state capture it was difficult to refuse a meeting with the Guptas given their proximity to former president Jacob Zuma.

Nhlanhla Nene-afp

Nene appeared before the commission for a second time on Thursday to complete his testimony. 


He resigned as finance minister in 2018 shortly after revealing he had visited the Gupta home. 


On Thursday, Nene told the commission that records show he visited the Guptas on eight occasionsand not four as he initially testified. 


His first visit was to Sahara Computers in Midrand when he was still the deputy finance minister. 


"It was difficult not to honour their invite as it public knowledge that the family was friends with the president and he had personally stated that they provided employment to his son. It is not easy to antagonise your boss’ friends, and they had also claimed to be advising him on economic matters and that Mr. Ajay Gupta had served in the economic advisory of former president Thabo Mbeki. It’s for these reasons they invited me to events and to meet with them." 


Nene refuted any suggestions that he was ever offered a job in government, money or favours by the Guptas during the visits.


He also denied allegations by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that he negotiated deals for the Guptas and his son Siyabonga during his tenure as chairperson of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).


Nene believes the EFF allegations around him and the Guptas are nothing more that personal attacks due to his role in placing VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship and his role in the axing of Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. 


He read an SMS he alleges was sent by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, in which he apparently asked him not allow a black-owned bank to go down. 


"I did not succumb to this kind of pressure because this was meant to influence my decision based on something I don't think Mr. Shivambu understood. It is not because we wanted to destroy a black-owned bank. The purpose was to make sure we close the leakage because if we did not do that it would have collapsed and the purpose was to remedy the situation.”


Nene also believes the EFF attacks are meant to defend Moyane.


"It is known that a gentleman by the name of Adriano Mazzoti was under the investigation of SARS under Minister Gordhan's tenure and it now is known and admitted by Mr. Julius Malema that he had funded and supported the EFF, and also that the investigation into Mazzoti when Moyane took office. It is also known that the EFF has now defended Moyane against his suspension and eventual removal. I would love the commission to look into this matter as these are some of the things that in the course of doing our work we might have trampled onto people's toes and the vicious attacks were necessitated."

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