Gigaba pleads his case to Cyril
Embattled minister says new facts have emerged about the Oppenheimers, which could verdict
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.