The admission by former sports minister Fikile Mbalula that the Guptas had informed him of his promotion to the cabinet was the first real evidence that former president Jacob Zuma had abdicated his powers, former finance minister Trevor Manuel said on Thursday. The chairman of insurance giant Old Mutual told the Zondo commission into state capture that up to that point the influence of the family, friends of Zuma and business associates of his son, had been a subject of speculation and even "banter". Manuel was the country’s longest-serving finance minister under four presidents: Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Zuma. During his stewardship of the economy, the country’s debt shrank, culminating in its first budget surplus, partly attributed to robust growth and stronger-than forecast revenue collection from the SA Revenue Service. He left the government after the 2014 elections and declined nomination to the ANC’s highest decision-making body at the 2012 elective ...

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