Zuma’s al­lies con­cerned by Nene’s si­lence

CityPress - - News -

The threat by the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) to dis­rupt Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s state of the na­tion ad­dress (Sona) in protest over the fir­ing of Nh­lanhla Nene as fi­nance min­is­ter ap­pears to have in­ad­ver­tently put Nene in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion.

The EFF has vowed to in­ter­rupt Zuma’s Sona should he not ex­plain why he re­moved Nene in De­cem­ber last year.

Now Zuma’s al­lies have ex­pressed a con­cern that Nene has not done enough to dis­tance him­self from those mo­bil­is­ing around him.

Those who spoke to City Press said that if Nene were un­com­fort­able with peo­ple us­ing his name to at­tack the ANC and the pres­i­dent, the for­mer min­is­ter would have spo­ken out by now. The fact that he had not done so “in­sin­u­ated” that he ei­ther en­dorsed the at­tacks or was en­joy­ing them.

“It is up to him to dis­tance him­self from the cam­paign. Oth­er­wise, it be­comes his cam­paign. If it were any­one else, they would have jumped up and said: ‘I am a dis­ci­plined mem­ber of the ANC wait­ing for de­ploy­ment and I am not party to any cam­paign against the pres­i­dent.’ But he is quiet,” said a se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial. Nene re­fused to com­ment when called by City Press. “I hope you will re­spect that. It’s ac­tu­ally just been crazy be­cause I am get­ting calls on some­thing that ... I don’t un­der­stand why it is all of a sud­den an is­sue.

“The rea­son I am not tak­ing any calls is be­cause it starts off as an­other is­sue and ends up be­ing this is­sue, so I have taken a de­ci­sion: no in­ter­views,” he said.

Nene was con­tro­ver­sially sacked by Zuma in De­cem­ber and re­placed by lit­tle-known back­bencher Des van Rooyen.

This was crit­i­cised by many, in­clud­ing those in the ANC’s tri­par­tite al­liance. It led to cit­i­zens stag­ing protest marches in sev­eral big cities. The mar­kets also re­acted ad­versely to the de­vel­op­ment, which led to the rand plum­met­ing.

At the time of Nene’s dis­missal, Zuma said that he had de­cided to re­move “Mr Nh­lanhla Nene as min­is­ter of fi­nance ahead of his de­ploy­ment to an­other strate­gic po­si­tion”, which he later said was to head the African Re­gional Cen­tre of the New De­vel­op­ment Bank, which will be based in Jo­han­nes­burg.

“Mr Nene is our can­di­date for this po­si­tion,” he said.

But this week, the Fi­nan­cial Mail quoted Nene as say­ing he had not re­ceived a for­mal of­fer to join the bank. Nene has also re­signed as a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment.

– Staff reporter

Nh­lanhla Nene

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