ANC top five told Zuma Van Rooyen was a lightweight – report

Cape Town - The ANC’s top five members reportedly warned President Jacob Zuma about keeping little-known MP Des van Rooyen in his post as head of Treasury back in December.

According to Times Live, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and the other top five cabinet members told Zuma that van Rooyen was a “lightweight” for the head of the finance ministry.

Mantashe was speaking at a meeting at the University of Fort Hare for members of the ANC Amathole region on Wednesday.

The ANC secretary general said the Cabinet was assured before van Rooyen’s appointment that Nene’s axing from the post would not affect the markets, despite "some concerns".

This goes against a statement by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe who said just after Van Rooyen's appointment that Cabinet "had no idea that there was going to be this reshuffle", as reported by News24.

In the two days after Zuma removed Nene, the rand fell 9.1% to a then-record low of R16.0543 per dollar, while the benchmark stock index lost R170bn, Fin24 reported.

Following the massive plunge, the top five went back to the president to tell him to remove Van Rooyen after just four days.

Van Rooyen linked to Dubai trip

Des van Rooyen meanwhile, who is Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, refused to respond to questions about his trip to Dubai on Wednesday, News24 reported.

He told reporters to use the statement his office had issued, after it was alleged he had met the Gutpas there, who recently relocated to Dubai amid political scandal.

“It’s important to indicate that there is a response to that and nothing has changed. The same response that has been issued on Dubai is the one you can use. I don’t know what more you want because we have already responded to that issue,” he told reporters in Pretoria, during a briefing about the upcoming elections.

His spokesperson Tsakani Baloyi on Sunday told News24 that he did not meet any of the Guptas during a trip to Dubai last year.

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

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