President Zuma’s favourite and ‘quickie’ finance minister, Van Rooyen, has remained a bit mum on questions regarding his trip to Dubai last year. Rooyen, who is now the minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs maintained that he has already responded to the issue.
Eyebrows were raised after Van Rooyen visited Dubai (at the same time the Guptas were in India) and since then, many have questioned the reason for his trip, but Rooyen seems not be straight and open with answers. Today again, during a briefing in Pretoria held in readiness for the elections‚ journalists were prohibited from asking the minister questions related to his Dubai trip.
However, while the briefing lasted, the question was brought up but an official quickly replied “we are not going to allow the Dubai question as the minister has already commented“. When asked whether he was avoiding the issue‚ Rooyen replied that he had already commented on the matter and “that is a response you can use“.
Van Rooyen’s Trip
Significantly, he made the trip less than two weeks after he served as Finance Minister for four days. When asked who paid for the trip, Rooyen said he did so himself. “It was a private visit, I paid for that myself. You know I didn’t have enough (money). I was supposed to stay for a week, but you know, it was in and out,” he said.
“As much as one appreciates that I’m a public figure, that simply suggests all of a sudden my public life is for scrutiny. But I must indicate now that I went to Dubai, and I arranged my visit to Dubai, which was a private visit, long before I made a confirmation as a finance minister and minister of COGTA.
It was a private visit and I think I am like any other citizen of the country entitled to arrange private visits and I thought there was an opportunity for me to undertake that visit, and I undertook that visit,” he added.
Many have described Van Rooyen’s trip as ‘shady’ because the Department of International Relations was not even informed and also the Guptas were in Dubai when the trip was made. And most South Africans know the alleged influence of the family in ministerial appointments, if not, no one would have bothered about their presence in Dubai at that time.