Four-day finance minister Des van Rooyen has joined president Jacob Zuma in approaching the courts to interdict exiting Public Protector Thuli Madonsela from releasing her report on state capture.
Van Rooyen, Zuma and the controversial Gupta family have all been implicated in the Public Protector’s report, and all parties have taken or threatened to take legal action against her should the report be released.
The report is investigating allegations that the Gupta family, through its personal relationship with president Zuma, had unduly benefitted in a number of business dealings with government, and also had a say in the appointment of senior government officials.
Van Rooyen is implicated through his appointment as finance minister, following the axing of former minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015. It is alleged that the Gupta family was involved with van Rooyen’s appointment.
As part of his affidavit to interdict the release of the report, van Rooyen indicated that he could not answer the questions Madonsela had presented him, and needed more time.
This is what van Rooyen could not answer:
- Questions on whether the Gupta family knew about van Rooyen’s appointment as finance minister beforehand;
- Questions about van Rooyen’s “regular trips” to Saxonwold (where the Gupta family resides);
- Questions around taking the finance positions and bringing Ian Whitley and Mohammed Bobat – aligned with the Gupta family – as advisors to Treasury;
- Questions around the procedure followed in appointing Whitley and Bobat;
- Questions on Whitley and Bobat’s involvement in the SAA Airbus swap deal, among others.
Van Rooyen’s interdict case is to be heard on Friday. Opposition parties, including the DA, EFF and COPE are opposing the interdict.
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane said: “The DA’s legal team will be at the North Gauteng High Court today, and ready to oppose Des van Rooyen’s interdict against the release of the Public Protector’s report into State Capture, which I requested.
“The DA, however, does not want to in any way delay the release of the report, and therefore will first determine if the Court is willing to hear arguments on the matter before intervening.
“The first prize must be the immediate release of the report, and the dismissal of the interdict immediately.
“The DA submitted this complaint to the Public Protector because we are determined to end Jacob Zuma’s state capture and crony-corruption.
“It is clear that Des van Rooyen is being used as a proxy in Jacob Zuma’s battle to prevent this report from being made public.
“The DA will not let this go without a fight. We will do everything possible to ensure the report is released,” Maimane said.