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‘Even Zuma’s closest aides didn't see Van Rooyen appointment coming’

Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane after Des Van Rooyen was appointed as finance minister, he received a message from a shocked Zuma's aide, Laleka Kaunda.

FILE: Des Van Rooyen. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The state capture commission has heard how even former President Jacob Zuma's closet aides were shocked by the appointment of Des Van Rooyen as finance minister after Nhlanhla Nene was fired in 2015.

Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane is testifying at the inquiry on Friday afternoon.

He's told the commission that when Nene was fired, he received a message from Zuma's aide Laleka Kaunda who was the chief operating officer in the Presidency.

“On Thursday early morning after the announcement, when she sent me a message – because we had a close working relationship - she said they did not see this coming. I said it was tough but we had to stand firm.”

Nene's axing sent markets into a tailspin, forcing Zuma to reverse his decision to appoint Van Rooyan and return Pravin Gordhan to the finance ministry.

Gordhan, who is now public enterprises minister, told the commission this week that Zuma told him this was to “calm the markets.”