Former finance minister Des Van Rooyen at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LUBA LESOLLE
Former finance minister Des Van Rooyen at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LUBA LESOLLE

Des van Rooyen, the minister with the shortest stint at the National Treasury, opened his testimony at the state capture inquiry with a 20-minute political speech on Tuesday. He requested the commission to expand its terms of reference to look into the influence of “white monopoly capital” on the SA democratic state.

An ally of former president Jacob Zuma, he was redeployed to the department of co-operative governance & traditional affairs after four days into his job after intense pressure from the public and the private sector. Van Rooyen said it was worrisome that everyone associated with the former president is being painted as corrupt.

“It is important for me to emphasise that the court of public opinion has long concluded that anyone associated with his excellency president Jacob Zuma is corrupt,” he said. “It is interesting but not surprising to note that this is the political narrative of media owned by white monopoly capital.”

Van Rooyen said a state capture commission with extended terms of reference would reveal that it was white monopoly capital that had captured the state. As an example he said that many officials who work for the Treasury are absorbed by corporate SA when they leave the government.

“I support the call for the expansion of this commission’s terms of reference to establish the relationship of white capital to our new democratic state,” he said. “Why did this new government allow a foreigner — Coleman Andrews, the former CEO of SAA — to sell 61 aircraft and went back to leasing them at R1.6bn per annum?” he asked.

“As if this was not enough, he was given a golden handshake of R250m.”

Van Rooyen said white monopoly capital, which he claimed influenced the outcomes of the ANC conference at Nasrec in 2017, was having a free ride. More worrying, he added, were allegations that judges were paid money, but that documents proving this had been sealed by the courts.

“If the terms of reference are extended, we will get to understand why these things are happening,” he said. “I am more worried about this development about Nasrec because there is an embargoed report which at some stage will shed more light.”

Van Rooyen complained that the commission had taken two years to give him the opportunity to state his side of the story regarding allegations related to him. But he added that at least the commission had done so — unlike former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who he said never gave him the opportunity to be heard before making adverse comments.

Van Rooyen’s legal team earlier in the day cross-examined former Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile.

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