Parliament heard on Monday that former Finance Minister Des van Rooyen’s stay in a swanky hotel cost taxpayers a whopping R1 million.
This revelation was made by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in a written parliamentary reply to a question from DA MP Kevin Mileham.
Mileham had wanted to find out if Rooyen or any of his family members was accommodated in a hotel at the expense of the public works department and the reason for such.
The department explained that Rooyen – who was newly appointed as the Finance Minister at the time – spent 122 days in luxurious hotels while waiting for an official accommodation.
The department equally disclosed that apart from Rooyen’s 122 days in magnificent hotel rooms, he also spent two nights in a guest house, of which 35 were in an official capacity.
Cogta further explained that state-owned accommodation was requested for Van Rooyen from January 1, 2016, but that “The process was not finalized timeously as expected, hence [the Department of Public Works] communicated an apology for a delay through the letter dated 24 July 2016.”
Cogta disclosed that the Department of Public Works finally succeeded in allocating a state-owned residence to Rooyen from 1 June 2016 – ie after six months of searching for an accommodation; adding that the public works department promised to pay for the minister’s hotel costs of R968 562.00.
Van Rooyen was appointed the Minister of Finance by President Jacob Zuma on 9 December 2015 after the dismissal of Nhlanhla Nene from the position.
His appointment was greeted with mixed feelings and criticism. The markets also reacted extremely negatively to his appointment as the rand slumped as much as 5.4 percent against the dollar in a single day.
The foul-up subsequently led the appointment of Pravin Gordhan – who was then the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – as the new finance minister.
The appointment was made by President Jacob Zuma on 13 December 2015. The next day, Gordhan and van Rooyen took their new positions without swearing in ceremonies as they were both already ministers in the government.
Minister van Rooyen was implicated in Madonsela’s state of capture report. A cellphone evidence showed that Van Rooyen “was drinking tea with the Gupta family” the night he was offered Nene’s position.
Des Van Rooyen studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London where he obtained an MSc in Finance (Economic Policy) (2014). He also has a Master’s degree in Public Development and Management from the University of the Witwatersrand (2009).
He also holds a certificate in investment analysis and portfolio management from UNISA as well as other certificates from reputable institutions.
Des Van Rooyen also owns a property in Suideroord, Johannesburg and is said to be a partner or director of these corporations; Late Bloomer Enterprise, Muziovulile Mining Projects, Sukuta Enterprise, Walinzi Protection Services, and Phambili Services.
He held a number of leadership positions in the ANC from 1994 to 2007, including the position of mayor of Merafong City Local Municipality in the central Gauteng province.
The minister has been a National Assembly member since 2009 for Westville Westonaria City. He was an operative and soldier of the African National Congress’s paramilitary force.