Former president Jacob Zuma took about two to three minutes to inform Nhlanhla Nene that he was removing him as finance minister, the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Wednesday.
Nene was reshuffled from Cabinet on December 9, 2015, and replaced by Des van Rooyen who lasted in the position for only a weekend.
Nene said on that day he was on his way home from a meeting when he received a call from the president’s office, informing him that the former president wanted to see him.
“I immediately turned back [and headed] to the Union Buildings. I arrived at the Union Buildings at about 18:00 or 18:15. When I arrived I was required to wait in the waiting room for a short while,” he said.
“He (Zuma) had asked Ms Kaunda to contact me but she hadn’t, nor did she mention anything about it in the waiting room. She was clearly aware of what was going on. I informed him that I did not receive that message,” he said.
Nene quoted the former president as saying: “You would remember that when we were discussing the establishment of the African Regional Centre I had said that we would deploy a senior, high-ranking individual to that position?”
He said Zuma was referring to the African Regional Centre of Brics’ New Development Bank, the Brics bank.
The Brics countries had signed an agreement establishing the bank at the 6th Brics Summit in July 2014 in Brazil, Nene said.
He said Zuma addressed him in isiZulu and told him that he had discussed the matter with the ANC’s top six and that all its members had agreed to put him there.