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Cosatu: Nene must pay the price for misleading South Africans

The federation has told Eyewitness News that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene must pay the price for misleading South Africans.

The Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has become the first organisation allied to the African National Congress to call on Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign.

The federation has told Eyewitness News that Nene must pay the price for misleading South Africans.

The Finance Minister apologised for what he called gross oversight, saying he was wrong for meeting the Gupta family at their Saxonwold home and not at his office or in a public place.

He also apologised for lying about the meetings during an interview with eNCA in 2016.

Cosatu is joining growing calls for Nene to resign, with spokesperson Sizwe Pamla telling Eyewitness News that the country demands more from public representatives in the post-Jacob Zuma presidency.

"We need to hold them to higher standards and we think what the minister did was really unacceptable. He should not have lied to South Africa."

He says Nene should leave office as a matter of urgency so that the country can focus on real issues.

“At a time when we have the economy that’s on its knees, it’s the last thing we need as country.”

Cosatu says the president also has a responsibility to act on the minister.

ANC WON’T BE DRAWN

As Ramaphosa decides how to deal with Nene’s apology for lying about his meetings with the Gupta family, the ANC said it will not comment until there are developments.

The Presidency has not yet been able to confirm or deny if the report by the Business Day that Nene has asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties is true.

The Presidency would only say that it’s dealing with the issue and may release a statement on Monday.

The ANC is also not talking, its spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party will speak only once there are developments.

“If there’s any other thing that happens at a level of government which requires the ANC to communicate, you know we always come back to you [the media] and make sure that you’re aware of those developments.”

But Mabe confirmed the party’s top six met in an unprecedented meeting this past weekend to discuss the unity of the ANC.

While it’s unclear if the Nene issue was discussed at that meeting, Eyewitness News understands the performance of Cabinet was amongst the issues dealt with.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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