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[PROFILE] Here's what you probably don't know about Nhlanhla Nene

Eyewitness News has put together a short profile from his days as an anti-apartheid fighter, right up to his period as finance minister, for the second time.

FILE: Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - He's been finance minister twice, became an internet sensation after an embarrassing incident when he fell off a chair during an interview on national TV and was once unceremoniously removed during one of former President Jacob Zuma's midnight Cabinet reshuffles. But how much more do you know about Nhlanhla Nene?

We've put together a short profile from his days as an anti-apartheid fighter, right up to his period as finance minister, for the second time.

THE EARLY DAYS

Nhlanhla Musa Nene was born on 5 December 1958 in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal. His political career took off in the 1970s when he became a student activist while at Georgetown High School, Pietermaritzburg. He matriculated from the Gcothoyi Adult Centre.

He progressed and joined the African National Congress (ANC) Bhambatha region's Regional Executive Committee, later becoming its chairperson.

He is married to Lisa Nene with whom he has son Siyabonga and daughters Nkosingiphile and Sibusisiwe.

TERTIARY QUALIFICATIONS

Nene has the following post-matric qualifications:

  • BCom (Honours) (University of the Western Cape)

  • Certificate in Micro and Macroeconomics (University of London)

  • Certificate in Economics (Unisa)

  • Advanced Diploma in Economic Policy (University of the Western Cape)

  • Diploma in Marketing Management (DMS)

  • Course in Evaluating Macroeconomic Strategies in 2000 from Williams College (CDE), MA, US

STRENGTHENING POLITICAL CAREER

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Nene worked at insurance company Metropolitan Life. It is here that he became a labour union shop steward spearheading negotiations for better working conditions.

While at Metropolitan Life, Nene organised the first-ever strike in the financial industry under the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers (SACCAWU) in 1990.

While still being formally employed, he served as regional secretary of the ANC Ukhahlamba region from 1997 until 2000 and became of local government councillor in 1996.

Nene also got involved in various community initiative, chairing the Ntunjambili Development Committee and Kranskop Policing Forum 1997, among others.

THE ROAD TO FINANCE MINISTRY

Nene became a member of Parliament in 1999 under then-President Thabo Mbeki. He became co-chairperson of Joint Budget Committee from October 2002 to August 2005 and a chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance from 2005 until 2008.

In late 2008, Nene began his ascent to the finance ministry when then-President Kgalema Motlanthe appointed him deputy Finance Minister serving under Trevor Manuel.

On 25 May 2014 he replaced Pravin Gordhan when he was appointed by Zuma, but over a year later, he was unceremoniously removed in a shock move by Zuma in December 2015 and was replaced by Des van Rooyen, who only last four days.

Gordhan returned to the finance ministry after Van Rooyen, but was also removed in March 2017 and controversially replaced by then-Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Shortly after Zuma stepped down in February 2018, Nene was brought back in by President Cyril Ramaphosa where he served shortly after Gigaba.

[FROM THE ARCHIVES] Listen: The Life and Times of Nhlanhla Nene

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