Van Rooyen ad­mits to meet­ing Gup­tas

The Witness - - NEWS -

CAPE TOWN — Min­is­ter of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Des van Rooyen has ad­mit­ted to meet­ing the Gup­tas to en­list their help for the Mkhonto We Sizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion (MKMVA).

The meet­ing came to light in a re­port by Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane, in which she found that Van Rooyen de­lib­er­ately mis­led Par­lia­ment when he an­swered a ques­tion about his meet­ings with the Gup­tas.

In his re­sponse to the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, Van Rooyen ad­mit­ted that he met with the Gup­tas in his ca­pac­ity as the MKMVA trea­surer­gen­eral.

“I am a trea­surer­gen­eral of the MKMVA and part of my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to meet busi­ness peo­ple to en­list their sup­port into our pro­grammes. It is in that ca­pac­ity that I have met the mem­bers of the Gupta fam­ily,” read Van Rooyen’s re­sponse to the pub­lic pro­tec­tor.

How­ever, in re­ply to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion posed by DA chief whip John Steen­huisen in 2016, on whether he has 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.”

The DA MP Kevin Mile­ham, who once called Van Rooyen a two­minute noo­dle dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary sit­ting, filed a com­plaint with the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, al­leg­ing that he mis­led Par­lia­ment and thereby trans­gressed the Ex­ec­u­tive Ethics Code.

Mile­ham made ref­er­ence to re­ports that Van Rooyen vis­ited the Gupta home in Sax­on­wold sev­eral times in De­cem­ber 2015 shortly be­fore his short­lived ten­ure as Fi­nance min­is­ter.

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

The pres­i­dent must then within 14 days upon pub­li­ca­tion of her re­port, sub­mit a re­port with com­ments to the Na­tional Assem­bly and the direc­torgen­eral in the Pres­i­dency must within 60 days sub­mit a re­port to the pub­lic pro­tec­tor on the ac­tions taken against Van Rooyen.

The re­port was pub­lished on Fri­day. Van Rooyen de­nied that he mis­led Par­lia­ment, ar­gu­ing that he con­fined his an­swer to his ca­pac­ity as min­is­ter of Fi­nance.

Mkhwe­bane found there was noth­ing in Steen­huisen’s ques­tion that re­ferred to him meet­ing the Gup­tas in his ca­pac­ity as a min­is­ter.

“The ques­tion specif­i­cally re­lated to the pe­riod since he took of­fice as a min­is­ter. The em­pha­sis of the ques­tion was clearly on when he met with the Gup­tas and vis­ited their res­i­dence and not in which ca­pac­ity,” reads Mk­whe­bane’s re­port.

This is not the first Gupta­re­lated find­ing by a pub­lic pro­tec­tor against Van Rooyen. Mkhwe­bane’s pre­de­ces­sor, Thuli Madon­sela, con­nected in her fi­nal re­port — State of Cap­ture — Van Rooyen to the Gup­tas af­ter his cell­phone records placed him in Sax­on­wold.

Mkhwe­bane also re­ferred to this find­ing in her cor­re­spon­dence with Van Rooyen af­ter he re­sponded to the com­plaint, stat­ing that his re­sponse wasn’t con­sis­tent with the State of Cap­ture re­port.

Van Rooyen said that ev­i­dence can­not be used as the State of Cap­ture re­port is un­der ju­di­cial re­view. In her re­port, Mkhwe­bane stated that the ev­i­dence isn’t un­der re­view, nor has it been set aside by a court.

She also said she didn’t rely on it to make her find­ings. Mile­ham said yes­ter­day he has also writ­ten to Par­lia­ment to re­quest that the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs probe state cap­ture.

The MKMVA have been staunch de­fend­ers of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and led the at­tack against Pravin Gord­han prior to his re­moval as Fi­nance min­is­ter. It was also al­leged that the dis­graced, Gupta­en­listed PR firm Bell Pot­tinger helped the MKMVA to write me­dia state­ments, which the MKMVA lead­er­ship de­nied. — News24.

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