Ramaphosa should use Nene crisis to reshuffle Cabinet, says analyst

During his testimony, the minister confirmed that he met with the Guptas on several occasions at their Saxonwold home.

A video screengrab shows Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene giving testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry on 3 October 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

JOHANNESBURG - As the nation awaits an announcement from President Cyril Ramaphosa on how he will deal with his Finance Minister's apology for lying about his meetings with the Gupta family, there are questions about whether the president will use this opportunity to reshuffle his Cabinet.

On Friday, Minister Nhlanhla Nene apologised for what he called “gross oversight”, saying that he was wrong to meet the Gupta family at their Saxonwold home and not at his office or a public place.

Nene, who is now facing mounting pressure to step down, has also apologised for lying about the meetings in a 2016 interview with eNCA.

Eyewitness News understands that the ANC top six discussed, amongst other things, the performance of Cabinet ahead of elections at an unprecedented meeting at President Ramaphosa’s farm outside Bela-Bela.

The president has to fill a vacancy in his Cabinet left by the late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni says that Ramaphosa should use this opportunity to reshuffle his Cabinet and remove nene given that his credibility is now in question.

"To ally the fears, he would have to look for a person who's credentials are beyond reproach."

But removing Nene may open a can of worms as there are other ministers who have been found wanting by the courts.

When Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet in February, it was largely seen as a compromise as he faced pressure from within the ANC to keep some of former President Jacob Zuma's allies.

Analysts believe that if Ramaphosa removes Nene, he will be forced to also act against ministers such as Malusi Gigaba, whom the court found lied under oath and Bathabile Dlamini, who was found to have acted recklessly and was grossly negligent in the Sassa debacle.

She now faces a possible perjury charge.

The Presidency is yet to release a statement on the crisis.

WATCH: #StateCaptureInquiry: Nene's testimony in 3 minutes

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)