The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday appeared unfazed by reports that sacked South African finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, had taken up a private sector job with Allan Gray.
On Monday, the investment management firm confirmed that it had appointed Nene as a non-executive director to its board.
Ian Liddle, chairperson of Allan Gray, in a statement said the firm was looking forward to Nene’s strategic and leadership contribution to the board.
“We are very happy to have someone of Mr Nene’s experience on our board, and we are grateful that he chose to accept the appointment. We are looking forward to his strategic and leadership contribution to the board,” Liddle said.
Nene was unceremoniously removed from his position as South Africa’s finance minister in December by President Jacob Zuma, barely two years after he took over at the Treasury.
Zuma said that Nene had been nominated to head the BRICS New Development Bank regional centre as he sought to explain the decision to relieve him of his duties.
But the ANC’s head of the economics transformation committee, Enoch Godongwana – speaking to Radio702 on Monday afternoon – said that though Nene’s skills and experience would be missed, there were a number of reasons why former public servants took jobs in the private sector.
“If you know in some of those countries which are called developmental countries, there is what is called a movement between the private sector and public sector; the sharing of skills, that in itself is not a major problem, it becomes a problem when you’re constrained as a public sector, in terms of the availability of skills,” Godongwana told the radio station.
“From the policy perspective, we are not going to miss Mr Nene because we can invite him anytime to participate in the policy debate.”
Godongwana said there was “nothing inherently wrong” with the ANC deploying its members to some institutions like the BRICS New Development Bank, and that Nene might have felt that his deployment was taking too long.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed and congratulated Nene on his new job, saying he had performed well during his tenure as finance minister.
DA’s shadow minister of finance, David Maynier, said in a statement that Nene had been “treated shockingly” by Zuma and the ANC.
“The suggestion that he would be appointed to a position in the BRICS Bank now looks like a blatant lie,” Maynier said.
“The former minister did his best to do the right thing and hold the fort at National Treasury.
We wish him well in his new position and hope that it will not be too long before he returns to public life in South Africa.” – African News Agency (ANA)