Mkhwebane report on Des van Rooyen set aside in court
JOBURG – ANC MP and uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) treasurer-general Des van Rooyen has had Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report that found he lied to Parliament over meeting the controversial fugitive Gupta family, overturned.
North Gauteng High Court Judge Wendy Hughes on Monday, found that Mkhwebane’s 2018 report that ordered former president Jacob Zuma to take action against Van Rooyen was factually unfounded, irrational and unlawful.
Mkhwebane’s investigation related to claims by the DA that Van Rooyen lied when he responded to the official opposition’s leader John Steenhuisen’s questions when he was co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister.
Steenhuisen wanted to find out whether Van Rooyen ever met with any member, employee and/or) close associate of the Gupta family or attended any meeting with the Guptas at their Saxonwold, Joburg compound.
In his response, Van Rooyen, who was appointed finance minister by Zuma for a weekend in December 2015, said he had never met the Gupta family members, their employees and/or close associates of the Gupta family in his official capacity.
Following a complaint by DA MP Kevin Mileham, Mkhwebane found that Van Rooyen violated the executive members’ ethics code and deliberately misled the National Assembly.
She ordered Zuma to take appropriate action against Van Rooyen.
However, on Monday Judge Hughes declared that Van Rooyen did not deliberately mislead Parliament when he replied to Steenhuisen’s parliamentary question in 2016.
Mkhwebane’s report was reviewed and set aside and Mileham and Steenhuisen ordered to pay Van Rooyen’s legal costs.
“The debacle in my view was caused by the fourth and fifth respondents (Mileham and Steenhuisen). This is so, as the complaint raised was not in respect of or even relevant to the parliamentary question. Thus, the resultant investigations and report of the public protector emanates from the irrelevant complaint raised to the parliamentary question. The initiators are the fourth and fifth respondents (Mileham and Steenhuisen),” reads the judgment.