Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma told Nene the ANC top six had agreed he should be deployed to a Brics bank regional centre – ‘which was a fabrication’.
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s recollection of the evening of December 9, 2015 is crystal clear, since this was the night he was fired by then president Jacob Zuma under the pretext that he was being offered a post to head the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) New Development Bank.
That day also happened to be the date of the last Cabinet meeting for that year, and the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard yesterday how Nene was on his way home after a busy day when he received a call from the president’s office informing him that Zuma wished to see him.
“I immediately turned back to the Union Buildings. When I arrived, I was requested to wait in the waiting room for a short while. Miss Lakela Kaunda [Zuma’s then most trusted aide] was in the waiting room. We greeted but nothing further was passed between us,” recalled Nene.
After a short while, Zuma emerged to usher Nene into his office.
“The first thing the president said to me was, ‘I had asked them to tell you that I wanted to see you after the [Cabinet] meeting.’
“I informed the president that I did not receive the message. The president then said, ‘You would remember that when we were discussing the establishment of the Africa Regional Centre, I had said that we would have to deploy a senior, high-ranking individual to that position.’”
Zuma was referring to the Africa Regional Centre of the Brics New Development Bank, which Brics countries had signed an agreement to establish at the sixth Brics summit, in July 2014 in Brazil.
“Brics was to have regional centres, the first of which was to be established in Johannesburg,” Nene remembered Zuma telling him.
Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma told Nene the “deployment” was “discussed with the top six [ANC officials] and it was agreed that I should be sent there”.
Zuma told Nene he would “shortly” make an announcement on when the decision would come into effect.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted for about three minutes, Nene thanked Zuma for the opportunity to have served as finance minister.
“We shook hands and I left. The president made no mention of any other reason for my removal. I did not ask the president for his reasons because I did not think that was appropriate,” he said.
“That was the first and last time we spoke about the position at the Brics bank. It is now obvious that the deployment to Brics was a fabrication.
“I say so because the president had no authority to deploy me or to offer me that position