Des Van Rooyen: I will continue to engage with Gupta family

Van Rooyen was accused of trying to dodge questions amid weekend reports he was in Dubai with the Guptas.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen says he will continue to engage the Gupta family in the interests of developing the country.

Questions have been asked about the relationship between government and the Gupta family with allegations of state capture.

Van Rooyen says he hasn't had any dealing recently with the controversial family.

"They are part of our constituents and our engagement is on that basis and I will keep engaging them as a public rep with people of their calibre for the sake of our development agenda."

At the same time, he says he is entitled to a holiday or private business trips like any South African and reports that he visited Dubai with the Gupta family are false.

Van Rooyen was due to hold a press conference today about the readiness of elections but cancelled without explanation.

He has been accused of trying to dodge questions amid weekend reports that he was in Dubai at the same time as the Gupta brothers after he was briefly appointed as finance minister.

But the minister says he was there on private business and had nothing to do with his position in government.

"A period like December, to go on holiday or to arrange a private trip, and that is what happened here and fortunately it happened before I was concerned as the minister."

He says he has interacted with Guptas as far as any business man in his own capacity in the past and has not conducted business with them since his position in cabinet.

"The business instruction we had with the Guptas happened long before I came in, but in my capacity as a treasurer, there is nothing stopping me from creating any business relationships."

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At the same time, the minister has commended Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Danny Jordaan for "improved" service delivery in the Metro.

Van Rooyen is in Port Elizabeth ahead of the ANC's manifesto launch on Saturday.

He was addressing the media at City Hall earlier today.

Van Rooyen says he's extremely impressed with service delivery in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

He had much praise for Jordaan, telling the media that the mayor has made significant inroads in improving service delivery in the Metro.

Violent service delivery protest have characterised the region in recent months.

But Van Rooyen says he has had positive feedback from residents he has spoken to.

He adds the City is looking much cleaner.