Former finance minister Des van Rooyen to testify at Zondo commission

Former finance minister Des van Rooyen greets President Jacob Zuma loyalists after the former president’s appearance at the Pietermaritzburg High Court for corruption charges, 20 May 2019. The former president wants the court to grant him permanent stay of prosecution on the charges related to the multi - billion rand arms deal. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

The largely unknown Van Rooyen burst onto the scene in December 2015 when he was appointed finance minister by then-president Jacob Zuma, following the shocking axing of Nhlanhla Nene.

Former finance minister Des van Rooyen will give evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday, and also cross-examine former National Treasury director general Lungile Fuzile.

The hearings into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector are set to resume at 10.00am.

The commission will also hear evidence relating to ministerial appointments by Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen was granted leave to cross-examine Fuzile by inquiry head Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo last year.

Blunder

The largely unknown Van Rooyen burst onto the scene in December 2015 when he was appointed finance minister by then-president Jacob Zuma, following the shocking axing of Nhlanhla Nene.

He, however, only lasted four days in the position after his questionable appointment caused the rand to crash and reportedly lost South African economy an estimated R500-billion on the markets.

Zuma’s costly blunder angered South Africans who embarked on a nationwide #ZumaMustFall protest, calling for his resignation.

Following mounting public outrage, Zuma replaced Van Rooyen with Pravin Gordan. Van Rooyen then became local government minister.

During his testimony in 2018, Fuzile said that Van Rooyen had arrived at the National Treasury with a “pre-appointed adviser” in Mohamed Bobat, who tried to give Treasury staff instructions.

The commission also announced that in adherence with measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, strict social distancing protocols would be observed in the media gallery and that this would result in a very limited number of seats being available for members of the media.

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