Before he became minister, Des van Rooyen didn’t have enough money to stay in Dubai for a week, but he had enough to fork out for a quick return visit.
The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister was responding to questions at a press conference in Port Elizabeth about his visit to Dubai on December 20, less than two weeks after he served as Finance Minister for four days.
He also insisted that his visit was private, and as a citizen he was entitled to such.
“As much as one appreciates that I’m a public figure, that simply suggests all of a sudden my public life is for scrutiny,” he said.
“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.”
Asked who paid for the trip, Van 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.
The trip raised questions because members of the controversial Gupta family were in Dubai at the same time, the Sunday Times reported. The Department of International Relations was also not informed.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas alleged that the Gupta family called him and offered him the finance minister position before Van Rooyen was controversially appointed.
It was the minister’s first official visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, where he also gave an update on how national government’s intervention into the metro has helped strengthen systems