With all the soap opera performances in Parliament and the constant news reports of corruption and political mudslinging, it is understandable if your knowledge of the South African government is not to up to scratch.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to think about your own finances without sparing a thought for the finances of your country. The general financial wellbeing of your country and fellow compatriots has a severe impact on your own standard of living. It influences the benefits that you get to enjoy from your tax money, the standard of health care or education you will receive from public institutions and the overall service levels of the country.

Your ability to find employment, the price of the food you eat, the sales your business or your employer generates and the value of your money when travelling abroad are all effected by the state of your country’s economy.

The everyday decisions and actions of the Minister of Finance have an imperative impact on this monetary ecosystem.

On 25 May 2014, Nhlanhla (Musa) Nene accepted this top job. If you’re not familiar with his resume here are some pointers:

1. Nhlanhla Nene was born in the rural village of Ntunjambili near Kranskop on the edge of the Tugela River valley in KwaZulu-Natal. (Not far from where President Jacob Zuma grew up.)

2. He was expelled from Georgetown High School in Pietermaritzburg for activism against apartheid. He completed his matric in a different school.

3. Nene is the son of a nurse and school principal, and as a teenager he managed his own tuck-shop.

4. He became actively involved in politics in 1979 at the age of 21.

5. The Minster holds various qualifications including a B.Com Honours degree in Economics from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and a Diploma in Marketing Management DMS.

6. During the early days of his career he was a Municipal Councillor and worked in several community-based organisations.

7. He joined the South African Parliament in 1999 at the age of 41.

8. Before becoming the guardian of South Africa’s main budget, Nene held positions as the Deputy Minister of Finance in the Cabinet and the Chairperson of the South African Finance Portfolio Committee.

9. In 2014 he became the first black South African to occupy the position of Minister of Finance.

10. Nene met his wife in 1979. On the day President Jacob Zuma announced Nene as the new Minister of Finance they celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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