Where is evidence of Gupta influence? - Van Rooyen

2016-03-15 11:21
Minister Des van Rooyen

Minister Des van Rooyen

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Johannesburg - Those claiming that the politically connected Gupta family are influencing Cabinet appointments must come forward with evidence, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen said on Tuesday.

"We have been saying we are a democratic country, a constitutional democracy for that matter, a democracy that can't be chopped and changed when it suits an individual," he told News24 on the sidelines of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union conference in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg.

"Our conduct as public representatives is guided by the provisions of our Constitution and it's very clear we are expected to engage everyone, everyone, without exception, to take South Africa forward."

Van Rooyen said he was not sure why "all of a sudden" certain families were being singled out "as families which must not be engaged with".

‘We have been engaging with Guptas’

He said government had been engaging various wealthy families and even during exile the ANC engaged with business people as a way of showing its commitment to working with everyone to take South Africa forward.

"We have been engaging with them as [the] government of the day.

"So it's very unfortunate that all of a sudden some business people are singled out on their relationship with government as if government is not supposed to create relationships with business people. I find that to be very unfortunate," Van Rooyen said.

The Gupta family, which is said to have strong ties with President Jacob Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders, has been accused of offering top ministerial jobs.

At the weekend, reports emerged that they had offered the job of finance minister to deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas, two weeks before Nene was removed and replaced with Van Rooyen.
Jonas reportedly turned down the job.

Secret meetings

The Sunday Times reported that the president's son Duduzane was also present at the meeting held at a Sandton hotel in November. The newspaper further alleged that Jonas was again offered this position a few days later by ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.

The Gupta family has denied that they met with Jonas.

Shortly after Van Rooyen was appointed finance minister he was replaced by Pravin Gordhan. The move to replace Nene was met with public outcry and saw the rand plummet. Van Rooyen was then moved to the Cogta portfolio.

Gordhan on Monday, said he had no personal knowledge of the meeting between Jonas and the Gupta family, but would not say if he would speak to his deputy about the allegations.

Rumours and gossip

The ANC said it would set up a meeting with Jonas to discuss the allegations.

At a national executive committee meeting to be held this weekend, the ANC is also expected to get a report back on a meeting the party's top six officials had with the Gupta family.

There have also been allegations that Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula heard from the Gupta family that he had been appointed minister.

Van Rooyen is also said to have ties to the well connected family.

After his appointment as finance minister in December, it was reported that Van Rooyen arrived at his new position as finance minister with two unnamed "advisors". The two were named as "Gupta allies" Mohamed Bobat and Ian Whitley.

Whitely was Duarte's son-in-law.

Read more on:    anc  |  pravin gordhan  |  nhlanha nene  |  jacob zuma  |  gupta family  |  des van rooyen  |  politics

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