DA & IFP express concern over van Rooyen’s new role

BY CHARL BOSCH - DECEMBER 15, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has described President Jacob Zuma’s swopping of former Finance Minister David van Rooyen with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Pravin Gordhan, as good news for the former department but a “nightmare” for the latter.

In a second shock cabinet reshuffle on Sunday evening, Zuma announced that van Rooyen, who took over from Nhlanhla Nene four days before, would be replaced by former Finance Minister Gordhan after the move not only received wide scale backlash from opposition parties and on social media, but also resulted in the rand plummeting to its lowest level ever against the US Dollar.

Speaking in a statement, DA Shadow Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Kevin Mileham said van Rooyen’s stint as Mayor of the embattled Merafong Local Municipality on the West Rand, is a clear indication that he is not fit to hold a parliamentary position.

“Within just his second year in the Mayoral Office in Merafong, van Rooyen oversaw R3 177 859 unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, up from zero in the year he came to office,” Mileham said.

“van Rooyen also oversaw an enormous increase in his own Mayoral salary, up 69.72% during his five years in office, and he oversaw the increase in Executive Councillors salaries by 76.67%”. As a novice Minister and failed Mayor, he is wholly inappropriate for the Ministerial office”.

Mileham said it is unlikely that van Rooyen would take a firm stance against some of the country’s faltering municipalities, as he is setup “for failure by President Zuma”.

In a similar reaction, IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said van Rooyen’s appointment “bares no logic” to the department.

“van Rooyen failed dismally as Mayor of Merafong, and therefore to expect him to oversee 278 municipalities is a case of mistaken priorities and bears the hallmarks of yet another poor instance of judgement on the Presidents part,” Hlengwa said.

“It is extremely concerning that the President would change COGTA Ministers on the eve of the 2016 Local Government Elections, especially given the high number of boundary changes and mergers of some municipalities. We can only hope that van Rooyen’s stay at COGTA will be as brief as his tenure at the Finance Ministry”.