President Zuma appointed me - Van Rooyen denies Gupta hiring

Cape Town - Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Des van Rooyen says President Jacob Zuma, not the politically connected Gupta family appointed him to the position of finance minister, a position he held for just three days in 2015.

Van Rooyen also denied in Parliament on Tuesday that he flew to Dubai to consult with the family before being appointed to the short-lived position in December 2015.

He was reshuffled to his current position, after wide spread criticism of his appointment and firing of then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Only the president has the power to appoint Cabinet ministers according to the Constitution, he told National Council of Provinces MPs during a question session.

"It is also up to the president to assign certain powers and functions to those he appoints... Of course, he can also dismiss anyone who he appoints," he said.

He also said he had paid for the trip to Dubai "in his private capacity", and it was not paid for by the Guptas, as alluded to in the now infamous #GuptaLeaks.

'Exercise patience'

"This trip was personally planned in my capacity as a minister. This trip was paid for in my private capacity. I didn't use any state resources."

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Tebogo Mokwele, who had asked the question, said she had not asked if he had used state resources but Gupta resources.

She wanted to know what reasons Van Rooyen had for being in Dubai at the time in question.

"I think the submission made by the member borders on the so-called state capture report," he said, referencing former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report.

"Allegations that have been levelled so far are very serious, and I think should be treated in that light. Let's also not be victims of expediency here."

He said the remedial actions of Madonsela's State of Capture report have been challenged in court, and the processes must be followed.

"Clear you name! Take the chance to clear your name! We're giving you free airtime," Mokwele and colleague Nkagisang Koni shouted back.

"Exercise patience. You seem to be lacking evidence," Van Rooyen responded.

Provide evidence

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mntomuhle Khawula said there were allegations that other ministers went to the Gupta family before being appointed by Zuma.

"If it's not you, who are these members they are alluding to?" Khawula asked.

Van Rooyen said that there have been other names mentioned, alluding to an unnamed deputy minister, and said that if they want confirmation, they should ask the relevant ministers themselves.

Democratic Alliance MP Mergan Chetty asked if he concurred that the leaked Gupta emails were authentic.

"I can see we are entertaining the State Capture report here. I'm saying if you have any type of evidence please provide it," Van Rooyen answered again.

He said ministers were guided by the executive code of ethics. Disclosures they make in their private capacity are not a secret, and are publicised.

The State of Capture report has been taken on judicial review by the office of President Jacob Zuma.

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