Ramaphosa set for talks with Van Rooyen over findings he misled Parliament on Gupta meeting

2018-02-26 21:28
Minister Des van Rooyen. (File)

Minister Des van Rooyen. (File)

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated to the Speaker of the National Assembly that he will be engaging Des van Rooyen on a finding that he misled Parliament about his meetings with the Guptas, in the run-up to his short tenure as finance minister in 2015.

The finding was made in a report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Ramaphosa on Monday submitted this report to the Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of the Executive Members' Ethics Act. 

"The President indicated to the Speaker that he will be engaging with Minister Van Rooyen on the content of the Public Protector's report and will revert to the National Assembly within the directed time frame on the action he has taken," said Ramaphosa's spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

Mkhwebane published the report about Van Rooyen, now Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, on February 9.

With the president having submitted the report, with comments, to the National Assembly, the next step was for the director general in the Presidency, within 60 days, to submit a report to Mkhwebane on the actions taken against Van Rooyen.

READ: Des van Rooyen admits asking Guptas' help for MKMVA

In a reply to a parliamentary question posed by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen in 2016, about whether he had ever met with the Guptas, Van Rooyen said: "The minister and his deputy ministers have never met with members, employees and/or close associates of the Gupta family in their official capacities".

DA MP Kevin Mileham, who once called Van Rooyen a two-minute noodle during a parliamentary sitting, filed a complaint with the Public Protector, alleging that Van Rooyen misled Parliament and thereby transgressed the executive ethics code.

During the Public Protector's investigation, Van Rooyen admitted that he met with the Guptas, saying he did so in his capacity as the treasurer general of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA).

Mkhwebane found that Mileham's complaints were substantiated and prescribed that the president must take "appropriate action" against Van Rooyen for violating the Executive Members' Ethics Act and the Constitution.

Van Rooyen denied that he misled Parliament, arguing that he confined his answer to his capacity as the Minister of Finance. But Mkhwebane dismissed this argument, saying there was nothing in Steenhuisen's question that referred to him meeting the Guptas in his capacity as a minister.

ALSO READ: Des van Rooyen denies misleading Parliament

In a statement released two weeks ago, Van Rooyen said he noted with concern media reports alleging that he had misled Parliament.

He said he was concerned that the report was never forwarded to him or that he was alerted to it being published.

"Minister Van Rooyen has never disputed that he met anyone associated with the Gupta family outside of his portfolio. As a treasurer general of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association, part of his responsibilities is to engage the business community to enlist their support into various programmes they are undertaking," his statement read. 

"It is in that capacity that I have met the members of the Gupta family," Van Rooyen said.

"The minister responded to the questions by the public protector, emphasising the distinction between his capacity as the minister and as a treasurer general of the MKMVA."

Read more on:    public protector  |  gupta family  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  des van rooyen  |  state capture  |  politics

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