Was president, cabal behind Nene’s fall?
FALLEN former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was the victim of factionalism within the ANC camp that is led by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Independent Media has established that some in the camp had hoped Nene would implicate former president Jacob Zuma in the inquiry into allegations of state capture.
When he did not, a campaign that included mainstream media was launched, to discredit him.
The infighting resulted in Ramaphosa choosing, somewhat unexpectedly, Tito Mboweni to run the National Treasury.
It is believed some journalists were commissioned to write negative pieces on Nene.
Amabhungane, an investigating unit with ties to the Mail & Guardian ran a story titled “The finance minister, his son and the Mozambican refinery”.
However, a similar story first appeared in the Weeklyxpose in June 2017 under the headline “PIC boss’s dodgy R1bn Mozambican deal”. It was followed a month later by another titled “R1bn oil deal mess: PIC boss Matjila sued”.
“What you need to understand is that amabhungane is controlled by one minister,” said a source. “They had this information for two years and it was even published in the Weeklyxpose, a tabloid style online publication in 2017. It’s funny how the editor of the Mail & guardian, Khadija Patel, got them to run it as a new investigation when it was so old.
“They knew the public would forgive Nene for the Guptas, but would not forgive him for corruption. Ironically, the cabal that discredited the publication a few years ago used information from it against Nene.”
Patel refused to comment. “I refuse to respond to a patently obvious smear campaign,” she said.
Meanwhile, it is believed that journalists at the Sunday Times and Business Day, owned by Tiso Blackstar, are controlled by opposing factions in Ramaphosa’s group in the ANC. Meetings are held weekly to set the agenda.
Meanwhile, forensic investigator Paul O’sullivan has continued to pile pressure on the group, which he believes helped ensure state capture.
“Without the Sunday Times, state capture would not have been possible… Fake news stories with the threads ‘SARS rogue unit’ as well as ‘Zimbabwe renditions’ and ‘Cato Manor death squad’ were ‘planted’ by Richard Mduli’s accomplices, using two chequebook journalists on the payroll of Tiso Blackstar, having been discretely moved within the corporate mist.
“The Sunday Times fake news stories were nothing more than a carefully orchestrated plot to capture the criminal justice system. That one man could be actively engaged in state capture, then seek to profit from it by writing a book, Licence to Loot, is unbelievable. The audacity of criminals fails to amaze me,” said O’sullivan.
He has demanded the Sunday Times provide a retraction of all fake news stories: “SARS rogue unit”, “Zimbabwe renditions” and “Cato Manor death squad” and admit its journalists and editorial team were captured and played a significant role in state capture.
He also demanded the journalists hand back the awards they received for the stories and provide a front-page apology to the people of South Africa.
JACOB Zuma has been vindicated for firing Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015. That’s according to two men who are close to the former president; Carl Niehaus and Des van Rooyen.
Both believe Zuma knew Nene was up to no good at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and this was one of the reasons he fired Nene as the country’s finance minister.
Des van Rooyen, the man who replaced Nene, said he was “confident” that part of the reasons Zuma fired Nene was because of the rot at PIC during Nene’s tenure.
“But the former president would not come out and tell the public that kind of information because of the respect he has for his comrades and the ANC. He is vindicated by what is happening now,” said Van Rooyen.
“Comrades tend to drive a narrative that some comrades are corrupt but now things are coming out in the open,” he said. Van Rooyen’s appointment was reversed just four days into his job after a public outcry and a crash in the financial markets.
Carl Niehaus, a former ANC spokesperson, said that while Zuma did not give reasons why Nene was hastily removed in December 2015, the “shenanigans at the PIC would have featured in his considerations of why he was getting rid of him.”
Niehaus said there was a case for Nene to answer regarding the funding that a company co-owned by his son, Siyabonga, allegedly received from PIC. This happened while Nene was the chair of the PIC.
Niehaus said he was not prejudging Nene, but insisted that there were serious questions marks about his conduct. “With the wisdom of hindsight one can now ask whether comrade Nene was in fact the paragon of morality that some in the mainstream media made him out to be.
“There was an avalanche of most vicious criticism against former president Zuma when he relieved Mr Nene from his duties. It seems like comrade Nene dug his own grave,” said Niehaus.
According to sources within the ANC, Nene’s removal three years ago deeply divided the ANC as well as the Top Six. Members of the Top Six at the time were Zuma, his then deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer-general, Zweli Mkhize, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe his deputy, Jessie Duarte and national chairperson Baleka Mbete.
“This Nenegate thing nearly tore the organisation apart. Comrades turned against each other but on hindsight one would say the former president was correct,” said an NEC member who spoke on condition anonymity.
This week Nene resigned following a public backlash that he had visited the Guptas when previously he claimed not to have done so. Questions were also asked about his role in the PIC’S decision to fund a company linked to his son.
While testifying at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Nene said he believed Zuma fired him because he refused to give the go ahead for a R1 trillion nuclear deal with the Russian government.
Zuma has not indicated whether he will testify at the state commission of inquiry. His spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, did not respond to the questions that were sent to him this week about Nene’s resignation.