MALUSI GIGABA FIGHTS BACK

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Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gigaba’s camp is work­ing on a de­tailed counter-cam­paign to clear per­cep­tions that he is in the pock­ets of the Gup­tas.

Gigaba’s con­sis­tent de­nial of in­volve­ment with the Gup­tas is prov­ing dif­fi­cult to sus­tain as ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing that he has deep ties with the fam­ily keeps piling up.

City Press un­der­stands that sup­port­ers of the em­bat­tled Gigaba are work­ing on com­pil­ing favourable ev­i­dence dat­ing back to the time when he was pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter.

This is to demon­strate that he had, on many oc­ca­sions, made de­ci­sions that did not favour the Gup­tas’ in­ter­ests and at times talked to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma about his dis­com­fort.

Re­cently pub­lished emails in­di­cate that Gigaba ap­pointed Gupta-friendly board mem­bers in state-owned en­ti­ties dur­ing his ten­ure as pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter, abused his power as min­is­ter to nat­u­ralise mem­bers of that fam­ily and played a role in the award­ing of Transnet’s lo­co­mo­tive ten­der that ben­e­fited the Gup­tas.

How­ever, a close Gigaba ally said new ev­i­dence that is be­ing put to­gether in the form of a “dossier” would, among other things, show that he blocked the sale of the Carl­ton Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg, agreed to a de­ci­sion to fire an of­fi­cial at Broad­band In­fraco for giv­ing a deal to the Gup­tas and per­son­ally played a role in get­ting rid of a Gupta-aligned board mem­ber at SAA.

He had also been un­happy with the lead­er­ship of SAA and made his views known at the high­est level of govern­ment.

The ally said that Gigaba had, for some time now, been work­ing to sever ties with the Gup­tas, but that he was caught up in a bal­anc­ing act of try­ing not to fall out of favour with Zuma in do­ing so.

“I am not deny­ing that there was a time when he thought that these [the Gup­tas] are stake­hold­ers that he must man­age be­cause of Num­ber One [Zuma].”

The as­so­ciate said Gigaba had not al­ways had the best re­la­tion­ship with Zuma be­cause of his pre­vi­ous al­le­giance to for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki. As a re­sult, Zuma was sus­pi­cious of him for some time.

“It is also not strate­gic [for] a KwaZulu-Na­tal politi­cian to be in [Zuma’s] bad books. Look at where the likes of Zweli Mkhize [ANC trea­surer-gen­eral] are now af­ter they fell out of favour with him,” the source said.

“Malusi is a facts guy. If your pres­i­dent or some­one prom­i­nent comes to you and says, put this guy here, he will play the game. He is a po­lit­i­cal an­i­mal. But if it doesn’t make sense, he will not do it. He has been asked for things that don’t make sense and, as far back as 2013, he has said no where it didn’t make sense.”

Cit­ing an ex­am­ple of how Gigaba had pre­vi­ously de­fied the Gup­tas, the source said that when Gigaba was in­structed to make Iqbal Sharma chair­per­son of the Transnet board, he did not agree with the de­ci­sion and so he found a way to “man­age it”.

There were un­favourable per­cep­tions about Sharma at that time and that ul­ti­mately tor­pe­doed the push for him to be­come chair. “Gigaba had the up­per hand to say he can be on the board, but he can’t be chair­per­son.”

This week, Gigaba said dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing that there was a cam­paign to tar­nish his name and de-fo­cus him from his work as fi­nance min­is­ter.

“My fam­ily has not been spared. My wife has been rub­bished‚ my fa­ther has been rub­bished. There is a cam­paign against us‚ peo­ple are be­ing paid to run this cam­paign against us‚” he said.

The “smear cam­paign” was also ap­par­ently linked with the ANC Youth League’s de­ci­sion to snub Gigaba when it ear­lier this week an­nounced its pre­ferred lead­ers for the ANC at the na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

Ahead of the youth league’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee sit­ting last week – which de­cided on their pre­ferred of­fi­cials – one of­fi­cial told City Press that Gigaba did not stand a chance as there were ten­sions be­tween the cur­rent lead­er­ship and Gigaba, who is a for­mer pres­i­dent of the league.

“Gigaba thinks he is the youth league. You can’t still con­sider your­self pres­i­dent of the youth league while there is a sit­ting pres­i­dent [be­cause] it is not good for re­la­tions. He wants the last legacy to be recog­nised to be his, but what about the legacy that [youth league pres­i­dent] Collen [Maine] is build­ing? You will not find him on our list,” the of­fi­cial said.

The youth league nom­i­nated for­mer AU com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for pres­i­dent.

The league also wants the ANC to cre­ate two new deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral po­si­tions, to be held by Jessie Duarte (mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion) and Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula (or­gan­is­ing and cam­paigns).

But the league’s lobby for Mbalula to “serve in a po­si­tion that does not ex­ist” was an in­sult, said a per­son close to Mbalula. He said Mbalula was more se­nior and more ca­pa­ble of run­ning the ANC than most of the peo­ple the league had placed ahead of him on its slate.

He said Mbalula’s com­ment on Twit­ter this week that Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura would be a bet­ter sec­re­tary-gen­eral than Free State Premier Ace Ma­gashule was in­tended to show the youth league that they were be­ing fac­tional.

“There is an agenda to elim­i­nate both Gigs [Gigaba] and Mbaks [Mbalula], so that they do not think they stood a chance to lead just be­cause op­po­si­tion par­ties are led by young peo­ple,” he said, re­fer­ring to Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers leader Julius Malema and DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

City Press un­der­stands that Mbalula was re­flect­ing a broader dis­quiet in the Dlamini-Zuma camp about Ma­gashule’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral can­di­dacy as he is seen to be too overtly as­so­ci­ated with the Gup­tas. There is also a per­cep­tion that he would be a fac­tional sec­re­tary-gen­eral, given the per­sis­tent ruc­tions in the Free State ANC struc­tures dur­ing his lengthy chair­per­son­ship.

Gigaba’s lob­by­ists have tipped him for the po­si­tion of deputy pres­i­dent. It is un­der­stood that his cam­paign is led by Ekurhu­leni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who last week told Zuma to ask the Gup­tas “to give the ANC space to con­duct the rev­o­lu­tion”.

How­ever, in­sid­ers both for and against Zuma say that it is too late for Gigaba to ex­tri­cate him­self from the Gupta web. “The emails are dam­ag­ing to Gigaba and the Hawks will start mak­ing ar­rests by De­cem­ber,” said one insider.

My fam­ily has not been spared. My wife has been rub­bished‚ my fa­ther has been rub­bished. There is a cam­paign against us‚ peo­ple are be­ing paid to run this cam­paign against us

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

‘FACTS GUY’ Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gigaba (right) and his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi dur­ing a me­dia con­fer­ence

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