Nhlanhla Nene

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Nhlanhla Nene
Minister of Finance
Assumed office
25 May 2014
President Jacob Zuma
Preceded by Pravin Gordhan
Personal details
Born (1958-12-05) 5 December 1958 (age 56)
Kranskop, South Africa
Political party African National Congress
Alma mater University of Western Cape

Nhlanhla Musa Nene (born 5 December 1958) is the Minister of Finance of South Africa, appointed on 25 May 2014.[1] He was previously the deputy minister of finance in the Cabinet of South Africa[2] since November 2008. He previously was the Chair of the South African Finance Portfolio Committee.[1] He has been an ANC member of parliament since 1999.[3] His home is in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal. He is considered the first Black South African to hold the office.


Nene holds a B.Com Honours degree in Economics from the University of Western Cape (UWC). He also obtained a Diploma in Marketing Management DMS; an Advanced Diploma in Economic Policy from the UWC; a Certificate in Economic Policy from the University of South Africa (UNISA); and a Certificate in Macro and Micro Economics from the University of London. He also attended a Course in Evaluating Macroeconomic Strategies in 2000 at Williams College (CDE), MA, USA. He matriculated at Gcothoyi Adult Centre.


Nene was active in student politics in the 1970s, and became a member of African National Congress (ANC) Regional Executive Committee, Bambatha region where he became a Chairperson of ANC Bambatha Branch. He was a 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.

He served as regional secretary of ANC Ukhahlamba region from 1997 until 2000 and as a chairperson of Kranskop Policing Forum from 1997 to 1999. He became ANC Local Government councillor and caucus chairperson from 1996 until 1999 and chairperson of Ntunjambili Development Forum from 1994 until 1999.

He became a labour union shop steward and led a negotiating team for better working conditions during the period 1990 to 1995 and he organised the first ever strike in the financial sector, under the banner of SACAWU, while working at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1990.

He worked as a Regional Administrative Manager for the Metropolitan Life Insurance for 15 years.

Political career[edit]

As a new Member of Parliament, Nene served on the finance committee, which Barbara Hogan chaired between 1999 to 2004. He has said he had a great deal of respect for her and her "no nonsense" ways.[4]

Nene held the Chair of the Joint Budget Committee and is currently a member of the ANC Regional Executive Committee for the Bambatha region. Previously he has held the position of ANC Secretary for the Bambatha region.[5] As chairman of the portfolio finance committee, he has said that it is "not proper" for parliament to be involved in process of drafting the budget, adding "Parliament has an oversight responsibility with regard to the budget so [our effectiveness] depends on how well we use the parliamentary process."[6] In 2008 when Parliament passed legislation that would give them more control over budgeting, Nene expressed concern, stressing that "utmost care should be taken that parliament does not undermine macroeconomic stability."[7]

Earlier, he had been mentioned as a possible successor to Finance Minister Trevor Manuel in a possible Jacob Zuma-led ANC administration in 2009.[8] In November 2008 President Kgalema Motlanthe appointed Nene as South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Finance. Nene replaced Jabu Moleketi, who resigned after the recall of president Thabo Mbeki. Nene was appointed the new Minister of Finance on 25 May 2014.[9]Nene status as to whether he is either the first or the second black Minister of Finance of South Africa is disputed.[10]

2008 Chair mishap[edit]

In 2008 he became an online hit after a 26-second clip of him falling from a chair during a television interview was posted on the video website YouTube.

The chair malfunction occurred while Nene was answering questions concerning Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's mini-budget on the programme View from the House. On the video, the chair cracks audibly, causing Nene to wince, though he kept speaking. Twelve seconds after the cracking sound the chair failed catastrophically, causing Nene to fall backwards, his hands grabbing at the desk as the chair collapsed beneath him.[11] Presenter Hayde Fitzpatrick managed to keep stone faced as the camera switched quickly to her.[12] The program then went to a commercial break while the producers ascertained Nene's condition. He was unharmed and the interview continued, with Nene in a different chair.[13][14]

The incident led to an apology from the South African Broadcasting Corporation after the clip was leaked onto the internet and they are conducting an investigation into who leaked the video.[15] SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago called the event "unforeseeable and an accident," adding that "Mr. Nene must be applauded for being a true professional. He carried on with the interview after a short ad break."[14] The clip has subsequently had over 25000 views. The video was viewed 498,000 times on 27 October 2008.[16] It has since been posted to a number of other viral video websites and social networking websites and has been the subject of discussions on various radio programs.[17]

Though Nene has said that the incident would not be good for his public image [14][15] he later joked about it, stating that he had asked colleagues not to refer to his job title of Chair of the Committee whilst in his company.[11] One colleague quipped that perhaps Nene should give up his chairmanship of the portfolio finance committee to lead a standing committee instead.[8] The story has been covered by the BBC and the Telegraph and Nene's office has been swamped by media requests since the incident. In response to the global media coverage, Nene stated he no longer wished to talk about the matter. He has denied that his weight was responsible for the chair's failure, saying "I know I am heavy but I sit on these chairs all the time. It can‘t be my weight."[15] He indicates that his children have been teased about the incident at school by classmates. He has reportedly sought legal advice concerning his rights and options regarding the way the video was leaked.[16]

On 29 October 2010 Jimmy Fallon did a segment of the video called Remix the Clips on his late night show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It was featured again on 12 July 2012 in a segment called The Danger of Sitting on the Late Show with David Letterman, and on Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell on 11 March 2015.


  1. ^ a b "Zuma's chosen ministers and deputy ministers]". News 24. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  2. ^ News24(3)
  3. ^ "Mr Nene Nhlanhla Musa]. Members of Parliament". Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Makhubu, Ntando (29 September 2008). "Hogan's appointment as health minister welcomed". Dispatch Online. 
  5. ^ ANC Member in Parliament "ANC Parliamentary Caucus". Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  6. ^ Prakash Naidoo. "Budget Process: Do we have enough say?". Financial Mail. 23 February 2007.
  7. ^ "SA Parliament to get more budget change power". Reuters. 24 October 2008.
  8. ^ a b Donwald Pressly. "Songs and pratfalls demonstrate fickleness of rand." Business Report. 27 October 2008.
  9. ^ "Nene takes over from Gordhan". Fin24. 25 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Trevor Manuel no longer SA's "first black finance minister"". Politics Web. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Video: South African MP's chair collapses in interview". TimesOnline. 23 October 2008.
  12. ^ Gabisile Ndebele. "Who leaked the funniest TV episode ever?" The Times. 23 October 2008.
  13. ^ Jenni O'Grady. "Finance chair plummets with a rand". IOL. 24 October 2008.
  14. ^ a b c Cecil Motsepe. "Weighty issue takes a break under the table". Sowetan. 23 October 2008.
  15. ^ a b c "Being butt of jokes after fall now a weighter matter for Nene". The Herald Online. Accessed 30 October 2008.
  16. ^ a b Sally Evans. "Nene's TV chair joke falls flat". The Times. 28 October 2008.
  17. ^ "World cracks up over SA chairperson". Dispatch Online. 24 October 2008.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pravin Gordhan
Minister of Finance