“It must be like trying to fix a plane when you are flying it” why former finance minister Nene doesn’t envy those in power fighting COVID-19.

PUBLISHED: Tue, 28 Jul 2020 11:54:22 GMT

Former South African finance minister Nhlanhla Nene says government needs more teeth to sort out misconduct and corruption in its ranks.

Nene fell on his sword as finance minister, in 2018,after admitting meeting members of the Gupta family – accused of corruption in South Africa – during his time in office. He was succeeded by former reserve bank governor Tito Mboweni.

“I think the government needs real authority to execute their task. If anything happens, at times we do not see action in that space when people, who do get out of their way, being dealt with as they should be,” Nene told CNBC Africa in an exclusive live interview.

Nene also said that that COVID-19 was also proving worse than the global financial crisis, in 2008, that he worked through as deputy finance minister.

“When the pandemic hit the country it was facing a very tough economic situation. Back in 2008 you were suffering a global situation , but it was not complicated by a natural disaster like the one we have now. This is much more complex than the one we had back then…The solutions are just as difficult to find. Finding a solution is like trying to fix an aeroplane while you are flying it and I don’t envy the leadership in making decisions,” says Nene.

Nene, born to subsistence rural farmers in 1958, has retreated to his farm in KwaZulu Natal since he left office.

“Even when I was in office I would always retreat back to the fam to gain some sanity…I love animals and I love nature it is really therapeutic,” he says.

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