Former finance Minister Des van Rooyen whose tenure was a very short one said on Wednesday that he does not believe that the termination of his appointment and redeployment after a few days as minister was influenced by billionaire Johann Rupert.
“I don’t have any suspicion that my redeployment from the finance ministry was influenced by Johann Rupert,” the cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister posted on Twitter
According to reports trending the media last week, there were rumours that Johann Rupert had flown down from London with the aim of persuading the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa together with other powerful business leaders to kick against appointing Des Van Rooyen as the finance minister.
After the removal of Nene as finance minister in December last year, Van Rooyen was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to take over the position. Surprisingly, just few days into his new job, Van Rooyen was quickly removed from the post by the president and had Pravin Gordhan put in his place.
Meanwhile, on March 26, Deputy President Ramaphosa denied having any meeting with business people – including Rupert, Maria Ramos and Trevor Manuel to discuss the impromptu appointment and removal of Van Rooyen as finance minister.
However, Ramaphosa admitted that he only discussed the matter of the finance ministry during a meeting with the top six ANC officials and President Zuma on the Sunday prior to the appointment of Gordhan as finance minister.
The Presidency defended the deputy president in the matter saying the rumours do not hold any water. “The suggestion therefore that Deputy President Ramaphosa met with Johann Rupert, Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos to reverse decisions of the president on the finance ministry is thus wholly incorrect, mischievous and misleading.”
Last month, President Zuma made a declaration that Des Van Rooyen is the most qualified person that was ever appointed to the office of the finance minister in South Africa during his tenure.
In his own defence, Zuma said he was only taking decisions for the good of the nation as president which was his constitutional right.