Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen on Wednesday dismissed media reports that billionaire Johann Rupert influenced his redeployment from the Finance ministry.
Last week, some media reports claimed that Rupert had flown to South Africa from London last year to persuade Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and other powerful business leaders to oppose Van Rooyen’s appointment as Finance minister.
“The ANC has structures that deal with issues of deployment and redeployment, and mine was not foreign from that,” said Van Rooyen.
“I don’t have any suspicion that my redeployment from the finance ministry was influenced by Johann Rupert.”
Van Rooyen was responding to a question from the floor during a media briefing of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) held at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. He attended the gathering in his capacity as treasurer-general of the MKMVA.
President Jacob Zuma appointed Van Rooyen as Finance Minister in December last year. He removed him from the post two days later following a public outcry and replaced him with Pravin Gordhan.
Speaking at the same gathering, national chairperson of MKMVA Kebby Maphatsoe said the Gupta family has had business links with his association in the past, adding there was no need to accuse the family of capturing the State. He would not provide full details on how the Guptas worked with the MKMVA, but encouraged other businesses to also work with the association.
“We have been proudly confident to say we did business with the Guptas,” said Maphatsoe.
“We have many members who live in bad conditions. You are attacking people who just want to transfer the economy of our country. These Guptas are going to empower our people in this country.”
Maphatsoe also berated Rupert for publicly appealing on the ANC to recall Zuma from public office. He described Rupert as a representative of white monopoly capital who was arrogating himself on the democratic choice ANC members.