Gi­gaba pleads his case to Cyril

Em­bat­tled min­is­ter says new facts have emerged about the Op­pen­heimers, which could verdict

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Be­lea­guered Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba had a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa on Fri­day in what is be­lieved to be a last-ditch ef­fort to save his job. Gi­gaba’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer is in turmoil fol­low­ing weeks of spec­tac­u­lar set­backs. Ramaphosa was given a dead­line of 20 days by Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane to take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Gi­gaba for ly­ing un­der oath.

She said she was sat­is­fied the al­le­ga­tion that Min­is­ter Gi­gaba vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion and the ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers’ ethics code by ly­ing un­der oath had been sub­stan­ti­ated.

She in­ves­ti­gated a DA com­plaint af­ter the Pre­to­ria High Court ruled in December last year that Gi­gaba told lies un­der oath about his agree­ment with the Op­pen­heimers.

The Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor gave Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete 14 days from re­ceiv­ing the re­port to re­fer Gi­gaba’s vi­o­la­tion to the joint com­mit­tee on ethics and mem­bers’ in­ter­ests.

City Press has learnt that Gi­gaba plans to take Mkhwe­bane’s find­ings on re­view.

Gi­gaba was also em­bar­rassed af­ter a sex video of him touch­ing him­self went vi­ral.

Ramaphosa has not com­mented on Gi­gaba’s trou­bles, but met him at his pri­vate residence to hear his side of the story.

De­spite the Con­sti­tu­tional Court dis­miss­ing his ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal a rul­ing that he lied un­der oath, Gi­gaba is con­vinced there were er­rors in the ini­tial judg­ment. Last year the Pre­to­ria High Court ruled that Gi­gaba lied un­der oath and vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The judg­ment in November 2016 fol­lowed a court bat­tle in which Fire­blade Avi­a­tion, owned by the wealthy Op­pen­heimer fam­ily, claimed Gi­gaba had ap­proved an ap­pli­ca­tion to op­er­ate a pri­vate ter­mi­nal at OR Tambo air­port. Gi­gaba con­tends he did not give ap­proval to the fam­ily at a meet­ing on Jan­uary 28 2016 to op­er­ate a pri­vate ter­mi­nal at the air­port.

Gi­gaba re­it­er­ated his “in prin­ci­ple” sup­port for the project, sub­ject to the con­clu­sion of a fea­si­bil­ity study into its op­er­a­tions.

Gi­gaba main­tains the Pre­to­ria High Court erred. “I re­spect­fully sub­mit that the source of the fun­da­men­tal er­ror was made by [Judge Sulet] Pot­ter­ill, sit­ting in the North Gaut­eng High Court in that she mis­con­strued my de­nial of the al­le­ga­tion by the Op­pen­heimer [fam­ily] that I had ap­proved their ap­pli­ca­tion to mean that I was con­tend­ing that I was op­posed to it.”

He said new facts had emerged about the Op­pen­heimer fam­ily’s deal­ings with the Gup­tas and he avers that the wealthy fam­ily’s in­ter­ac­tions with se­nior ANC of­fi­cials that have since come to light pro­vide grounds for the mat­ter to be re-ex­am­ined.

An ANC MP who at­tended a cau­cus brief­ing with Ramaphosa and ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule on Tues­day in Cape Town said Ramaphosa was firm that party lead­ers should watch their con­duct in pub­lic.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­sider, Ramaphosa said the ANC should ap­pear re­spon­si­ble in the man­ner in which it re­sponds to al­le­ga­tions against its lead­ers. “That was a loaded state­ment,” said the MP, adding it could have been a hint he was look­ing at chang­ing the Cabi­net.

A govern­ment official work­ing in the of­fice of a min­is­ter said spec­u­la­tion was rife that a reshuf­fle would hap­pen in the com­ing week. He said at least four min­is­ters could be af­fected. How­ever, the reshuf­fle has been dis­missed by other ANC lead­ers who be­lieve that, with six months be­fore the elec­tion, Ramaphosa is un­likely to want to an­tag­o­nise any party con­stituen­cies.

Malusi Gi­gaba

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