Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s name has allegedly joined the list of state officials who visited Dubai in December, around the time Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister David van Rooyen’s visit coincided with that of the Gupta family.
The Citizen has received unconfirmed reports of Magashule’s pilgrimage to the popular business destination. His spokesperson, Pulane Tsupane, has yet to confirm the trip, or the reasons behind it, pending “consultation” with the department of international relations and cooperation.
Adding to recent visits to Dubai by cabinet members, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane flew back to South Africa via Dubai from Zurich, Switzerland, cancelling a diplomatic meeting in favour of the trip. This was around the same time as Magashule’s alleged visit.
Van Rooyen and Zwane have since been linked to the controversial Gupta family. They were allegedly in the city at the same time as key members of the family. Van Rooyen claimed his trip to the Emirates city was a “private visit”.
Adding to the intrigue, President Jacob Zuma’s ally and North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, spent last week in Dubai “seeking investment for the province”. This was just after Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina was also in Dubai.
He was attending the annual global foreign investment event where he received two “investor awards” on behalf of South Africa and the department. The mystery around these events flared up earlier this month when members of the Gupta family reportedly flew to Dubai after their businesses were dropped by various financial services houses in South Africa.
Ajay and Atul Gupta also resigned from their positions at the family investment vehicle, Oakbay Investments. Last month, EFF leader Julius Malema accused Zuma of visiting the United Arab Emirates to drop off R6 billion belonging to the Guptas.
But Zuma said he had gone there to hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and to consolidate political and economic ties and promote South Africa as a tourism destination. His delegation included Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. – firstname.lastname@example.org