Nhlanhla Nene

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Nhlanhla Nene
Minister of Finance
In office
26 May 2014 – 9 December 2015
Preceded by Pravin Gordhan
Succeeded by David van Rooyen
Personal details
Born (1958-12-05) 5 December 1958 (age 58)
Kranskop, South Africa
Political party African National Congress
Alma mater University of Western Cape

Nhlanhla Musa Nene ([ntɬantɬa], born 5 December 1958) is the former Minister of Finance of South Africa,[1][2] appointed on 25 May 2014 and removed by President Jacob Zuma on 9 December 2015.[3] He was previously the deputy minister of finance in the Cabinet of South Africa[4] from November 2008 to May 2014, and a chairperson of the South African Finance Portfolio Committee.[4] He has been an ANC member of parliament since 1999.[5] His home is in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal.[6] He is considered by the South African general public to be 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 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 and 2004. He has said he had a great deal of respect for her and her "no nonsense" ways.[7]

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.[4] 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."[8] 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."[9]

Earlier, he had been mentioned as a possible successor to Finance Minister Trevor Manuel in a possible Jacob Zuma-led ANC administration in 2009.[10] 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.[11] Nene status as to whether he is either the first or the second black Minister of Finance of South Africa is disputed.[12]

Nene was hailed by financial analysts as a good finance minister who criticized several government spending plans, including a plan to build several nuclear plants.[13][14]

On Wednesday, 9 December 2015 a little after 8pm, President Jacob Zuma issued a statement removing Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene from his post. The Presidential Statement did not outline the reasons behind Nene's dismissal: “I have decided to remove Mr Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance, ahead of his deployment to another strategic position."

"Mr Nene has done well since his appointment as Minister of Finance during a difficult economic climate. Mr Nene enjoys a lot of respect in the sector locally and abroad, having also served as a Deputy Minister of Finance previously.” The announcement claimed that Nene would be replaced by ANC back-bencher David van Rooyen.[15]

Markets reacted extremely negatively to Nene's replacement by Van Rooyen, and South African Rand dropped as much as 5.4 percent against the dollar in a single day.[16] Within a few days, Nene's predecessor Pravin Gordhan was re-appointed as Finance Minister to replace Van Rooyen.

The FTSE/JSE financial 15 index fell 13.36%‚ the FTSE/JSE banks index dropped 18.54% and the FTSE/JSE all-share index shed 2.94%.The market capitalisation of the whole JSE went down by 1.49% to R11.18 trillion‚ a loss of R169.6-billion.The benchmark government bond‚ the R186‚ which was trading on a yield of 8.66% at the beginning of the week‚ ended the week at 10.40%.“Market losses put strain on credit extension and interest rates‚ and raise borrowing costs for companies and individuals‚” Newton-King the JSE CEO.

Nene has been nominated to lead the African Regional Center of the New Development Bank/BRICS Bank in Johannesburg. This has been reported by the SA Presidency in a statement.[citation needed]

As a disciplined ANC member of Pairlament he returned to Cape Town as a Back Bencher.

In a Sunday News paper the axed finance minister Nhlanhla Nene says he acted "in the best interest" of the country when he took on President Jacob Zuma's close ally, SAA chairwoman Dudu Myeni.[citation needed]

on 5 February 2016 the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly Ms Baleka Mbethe through the spokesperson confirmed that Nene resigned in December 2015 soon after being unceremoniously axed by the President of the republic Jacob Zuma. Nene through the business publication Financial Mail in the same week indicated that he had not received official confirmation regarding his nomination to lead the New Development Bank/BRICS Bank in Johannesburg.

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.[17] Presenter Hayde Fitzpatrick managed to keep stone faced as the camera switched quickly to her.[18] 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.[19][20]

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.[21] 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."[20] The clip has subsequently had over 25000 views. The video was viewed 498,000 times on 27 October 2008.[22] 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.[23]

Though Nene has said that the incident would not be good for his public image [20][21] 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.[17] One colleague quipped that perhaps Nene should give up his chairmanship of the portfolio finance committee to lead a standing committee instead.[10] 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."[21] 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.[22]

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. ^ Agency Staff. "Zuma removes Nene as finance minister". Times LIVE. 
  2. ^ Aurelie Kalenga (9 December 2015). "Nhlanhla Nene removed as finance minister". 
  3. ^ "Zuma's chosen ministers and deputy ministers". News 24. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Nene, Nhlanhla Musa". ANC Parliamentary Caucus. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Members of Parliament: Mr Nene Nhlanhla Musa". Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Member's Interest: Mr Nene Nhlanhla Musa". Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Makhubu, Ntando (29 September 2008). "Hogan's appointment as health minister welcomed". Dispatch Online. 
  8. ^ Prakash Naidoo. "Budget Process: Do we have enough say?". Financial Mail. 23 February 2007.
  9. ^ "SA Parliament to get more budget change power". Reuters. 24 October 2008.
  10. ^ a b Donwald Pressly. "Songs and pratfalls demonstrate fickleness of rand." Business Report. 27 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Nene takes over from Gordhan". Fin24. 25 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Trevor Manuel no longer SA's "first black finance minister"". Politics Web. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ "Zuma fires finance minister Nene". Rand Daily Mail. Rand Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 December 2015.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  16. ^ Rand plunges after Nene’s shock exit, IOL, retrieved 12 December 2015
  17. ^ a b "Video: South African MP's chair collapses in interview". TimesOnline. 23 October 2008.
  18. ^ Gabisile Ndebele. "Who leaked the funniest TV episode ever?" The Times. 23 October 2008.
  19. ^ Jenni O'Grady. "Finance chair plummets with a rand". IOL. 24 October 2008.
  20. ^ a b c Cecil Motsepe. "Weighty issue takes a break under the table". Sowetan. 23 October 2008.
  21. ^ a b c "Being butt of jokes after fall now a weighter matter for Nene". The Herald Online. Accessed 30 October 2008.
  22. ^ a b Sally Evans. "Nene's TV chair joke falls flat". The Times. 28 October 2008.
  23. ^ "World cracks up over SA chairperson". Dispatch Online. 24 October 2008.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pravin Gordhan
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
David van Rooyen