Four-day finance minister Des van Rooyen visited the Guptas at their family home in North Joburg as many as seven times in the days leading up to his appointment in December last year.
This is according to the Sunday Times, which reported that the now-minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs visited the controversial family on consecutive days between 2 December and 8 December 2015, citing a team of public protector investigators.
Van Rooyen was infamously appointed by president Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s Minister of Finance after he sacked Nhlanhla Nene at the end of 2015. The move sent the rand to record lows and only days later, and the president was forced to replace van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan.
The Sunday Times report follows a BBC report earlier this month which, using mobile phone evidence put van Rooyen at the Guptas’ home the night before his appointment.
The Sunday Times said that mobile phone records put van Rooyen at the house for an entire week, according to the investigators.
Van Rooyen, along with president Jacob Zuma, had applied to the courts to get an interdict blocking a report on alleged state capture by former public protector, Thuli Madonsela, from being released.
While the president’s interdict application is due to be heard at the High Court in Pretoria next week, van Rooyen withdrew his application noting that the report had no adverse finding against him, the Sunday Times said.
Van Rooyen’s spokesman, Legadima Leso, told the paper: “Insinuations that the minister’s appointment was influenced by any person other than the president is totally unfounded.”
The Guptas are the focus of the investigation, as it is alleged that the family has used its personal ties to president Jacob Zuma to influence the appointment of senior officials, and to unduly benefit from state contracts.
The family has consistently denied all allegations implicating them in state capture, while challenging those with evidence to come forward and charge them in the courts.
Read the full article in the 30 October 2016 edition of the Sunday Times.