Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

THREE months after Nhlanhla Nene was removed as finance minister, ostensibly so that he could take up a position as head of the Africa region of the New Development Bank (NDB), he is yet to receive a formal offer of appointment.

This is despite the fact that the Treasury announced on Monday that the bank, which was established by the Brics grouping — Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA — was in the process of establishing its Africa regional centre in Johannesburg.

The centre, a Treasury statement said, had begun the process of recruiting staff. It is normal for the prospective head of an organisation to be closely involved in staff recruitment, but this is not the case with the bank.

Mr Nene said in an interview on Monday that he had not received any further clarity about his position at the bank.

When President Jacob Zuma removed Mr Nene from office in December, he gave as the reason for his surprise announcement the fact that Mr Nene was destined to take over the reins at the centre’s regional centre in SA.

The Treasury said the bank was formally "open for business", following the signature of an agreement last month between China and the NDB regarding the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai. The agreement completed all the necessary legal procedures for the bank to begin operations.

According to bank officials in Shanghai, the first batch of projects could be launched next month. The bank aims to lend up to $2bn this year, with the first projects focused on green energy ventures and infrastructure projects.

The bank was set up by Brics members with the aim of financing infrastructure and sustainable initiatives.

It will have starting capital of $50bn, with each member country contributing $10bn.

SA paid its first instalment of R2bn last year, and has made provision in the 2016-17 budget review for R11.8bn to be paid over the next three years (R3.75bn this year) to fulfil its obligations.

With India providing the bank’s president KV Kamath, the bank’s four vice-presidents come from the other Brics countries.

SA’s vice-president is Leslie Maasdorp, who is also the bank’s chief financial officer.