Opposition parties raise questions about ministerial trips to Dubai

2016-04-10 15:26

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Johannesburg – The DA said on Sunday it would raise questions with Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen regarding an alleged trip to Dubai he took while the Gupta family were there.

DA MP, Kevin Mileham, said in a statement Van Rooyen's trip was allegedly in his "private" capacity.

Several attempts to contact Van Rooyen failed.

The opposition party issued the statement in the wake of a report published by the City Press newspaper on Sunday about the departure of two of the Gupta brothers for Dubai on Thursday, as well as 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.

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”.

Ministerial posts

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 and 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

Subsequently, 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 also 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:    da  |  eff  |  gupta family  |  des van rooyen

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