Johannesburg - Cabinet minister Des van Rooyen's advisers allegedly leaked a confidential government document to associates of the Guptas just two days into his short tenure as Finance Minister, the Sunday Times has reported.
"Gents, finally…" was the opening line of an email forwarding a Treasury document sent on December 12 last year by Ian Whitley to various Gupta-affiliated people.
Whitely is an apparent special advisor to Van Rooyen, who served as South Africa’s finance minister for four days in December last year. He is also the son-in-law of ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte.
According to the Sunday newspaper, the "classified" document detailed business opportunities in Africa for South African companies, plans to avoid ratings downgrades, as well as an outline of government spending.
It was reportedly sent to Malcolm Mabaso, a former business partner of Mohamed Bobat and Salim Essa, as well as an adviser to the mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
Bobat, along with Whitely, are believed to have accompanied Van Rooyen on his daily visits to the Guptas in the week before he was appointed finance minister. Essa is a business partner of the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane.
The email was apparently also forwarded by Bobat to Eric Wood, who is CEO of a private company owned by Essa.
The Sunday Times reported that the emails came to light as part of court action between Wood and his partners at Regiments Capital.
In December last year, Zuma axed finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in a shock move, replacing him with Van Rooyen, then an ANC back bencher. However, after the rand slipped dramatically, Zuma replaced Van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan.
Van Rooyen currently serves as co-operative and traditional affairs minister.
Both Zuma and Van Rooyen are referred to in a Public Protector report on 'state capture' involving the Gupta business family.