DA to report Des van Rooyen to Public Protector for misleading parliament
The Democratic Alliance plans to report Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, it said in a statement.
This comes after an explosive Sunday Times report that Van Rooyen visited the Gupta compound at Saxonwold seven times before he was appointed as the finance minister by President Jacob Zuma for a weekend in December.
“In a reply to a DA Parliamentary question, Van Rooyen denied visiting the Guptas in the run-up to his disastrous appointment as finance minister. Yet, reports today indicate that he met with the Guptas at their residence not once but seven times,” the DA said.
In a written reply to the DA’s parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen’s question on whether he has met with the Gupta family or its employees since taking office, Van Rooyen said he had never met with the Guptas in their official capacity.
“Clearly he was misleading in his reply and in so doing he has contravened the executive ethics code,” the party said.
It added that the latest allegations demonstrate that the “minister is little more than a puppet whose strings are pulled to allow access to state funds for the benefit of Zuma and his cronies”.
According to the Sunday Times, there is an email trial between Van Rooyen and a Gupta-linked company. The trail links Van Rooyen, his adviser Ian Whitley and Trillian Capital Partners CEO Eric Wood, indicating that Wood knew Zuma was going to fire finance minister Nhlanhla Nene two months in advance, by October 26.
The DA said it would be submitting parliamentary questions to Van Rooyen to determine if there have been any discussions with Eric Wood and Ian Whitely regarding the use of municipal assets to secure private debt financing for municipalities; the nature of his relationship with the Guptas and their known associates; and if he met with the Guptas in the week prior to his appointment as finance minister.
Van Rooyen recently withdrew his interdict of the State Capture report after receiving an assurance from the Public Protector’s office that it made “no adverse findings” against him.