I did not meet Guptas in Dubai – Van Rooyen

2016-04-10 18:02
Oakbay chair Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma at a Protea vs India T20 cricket match in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo: GCIS)

Oakbay chair Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma at a Protea vs India T20 cricket match in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo: GCIS)

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Johannesburg  Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Des Van Rooyen did not meet any of the Guptas during a trip to Dubai last year, his spokesperson said on Sunday.

“He says he didn’t meet the Guptas,” said departmental spokesperson, Tsakani Baloyi.

“He has indicated that he maintains that it was a one-day trip and it was his private business,” she told News24.

Baloyi's comments came in response to a Sunday Times report that certain government officials – including Van Rooyen – had travelled to Dubai last year at times when the Guptas were in town.

As a result, DA MP Kevin Mileham said on Sunday he would raise questions with Van Rooyen regarding the trip.

Mileham said Van Rooyen had been in Dubai in December last year, “less than two weeks after his ill-fated appointment as finance minister, a post he held for four days”.

Mountain of luggage 

On Sunday, the City Press newspaper reported on the apparent departure of two of the Gupta brothers for Dubai on Thursday.

Claims have emerged over the last few months that the Guptas had influenced President Jacob Zuma's appointment of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and that of Van Rooyen, as well as offering ministerial posts to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor.

Van Rooyen was appointed by Zuma to take over the position following the removal of Nhlanhla Nene in December. Zuma removed Van Rooyen from the post a few days later, replacing him with Pravin Gordhan.

Mileham said National Assembly rules decreed the minister must respond to written questions “fully and accurately”.

The City Press reported on Sunday that brothers Ajay and Atul Gupta, with their wives, five assistants and a "mountain of luggage", left Lanseria Airport in their private jet on Thursday night. Their alleged departure follows action last month by auditors KPMG, banks FNB and Absa and sponsor Sasfin Capital who all cut ties with Gupta companies, Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy.

Resignations from Oakbay companies

Earlier this week, the Gupta brothers and Zuma's son, Duduzane, announced their resignations from various positions in Oakbay companies.

Meanwhile, Cope spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, on Sunday said the report about the Guptas leaving meant “everything is becoming 'curiouser' and 'curiouser' and quite revealing at the same time”.

"If their [Guptas] departure is permanent, it will indeed add credence to our view that they fled in order to escape investigation and prosecution," he said.

Meanwhile, reports of the Gupta departure trended on the Twitterverse in South Africa.

An account called ‘Ministry of Parody’ tweeted, “No truth in the rumour Public Works has commenced construction of ?#Nkandla North in Dubai,” as well as that “rumour has it errant Ministers will henceforth be summoned to Dubai”.

‘Nozibele’ tweeted simply that, "They'll come back” while ‘My Surname is Khan’ suggested, “Zuma must've cried abit” (sic).

Earlier, the EFF said that the Gupta family leaving the country was a clear sign that the controversial businessmen had conceded.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  gupta family  |  des van rooyen  |  politics

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