Gi­gaba falls at ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity

CityPress - - Voices - Te­bogo Khaas voices@city­press.co.za TALK TO US Can Malusi Gi­gaba’s ‘cap­tured soul’ be saved?

The spir­ited at­tempts of Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba (pic­tured) to defy the laws of po­lit­i­cal gravity give new mean­ing and res­o­nance to the sci­en­tific term “ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity” – the high­est speed at­tain­able by an ob­ject as it falls through a medium.

While po­lit­i­cal heavy­weight Gi­gaba’s fall through the po­lit­i­cal medium seems to defy sci­ence, it has in­ad­ver­tently put the spot­light on the ANC’s con­se­quence man­age­ment phi­los­o­phy amid a highly charged so­ciopo­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

Let me ex­plain.

In his stints as min­is­ter of home af­fairs, pub­lic en­ter­prises and fi­nance, Gi­gaba wielded enor­mous ex­ec­u­tive power and in­flu­ence. He is ar­guably the most con­se­quen­tial mem­ber of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s in­ner Cabi­net who un­flinch­ingly en­abled state cap­ture.

Gi­gaba’s ar­ro­gance, epic mis­con­duct and egre­gious abuse of power are in­suf­fer­able. To de­scribe him as a BEE askari of a spe­cial kind would be an un­der­state­ment. His litany of ex­cesses in­clude im­prop­erly ced­ing con­trol of cer­tain as­pects of the home af­fairs depart­ment to Zuma’s kitchen cabi­net, and help­ing per­pet­u­ate in­sti­tu­tional per­ver­sion across key sta­te­owned en­ti­ties for the ben­e­fit of the Gupta fam­ily.

The Gup­tas, with the con­nivance of Gi­gaba, not only com­pro­mised the in­tegrity of our bor­der con­trol and man­age­ment sys­tem, but also dam­aged the es­teem our pass­ports en­joyed prior to his ap­point­ment at home af­fairs.

In 2009 the UK im­posed visa re­quire­ments on South Africa amid fears that we were, in­ter alia, a hon­ey­pot for il­le­gal im­mi­grants, and the in­tegrity of our na­tional iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing.

The Air Force Base Waterk­loof scan­dal and un­re­lated re­ports of the Gup­tas’ il­licit cur­rency out­flows un­der diplo­matic cover all but con­firmed the par­lous state of our bor­der man­age­ment and com­pro­mised diplo­matic sys­tem.

Poor bor­der man­age­ment not only im­pedes ef­fec­tive cus­toms ex­cise rev­enue man­age­ment, but it is an in­her­ent threat to global se­cu­rity.

It is un­sur­pris­ing, but no less an in­dict­ment on Gi­gaba’s stew­ard­ship of the home af­fairs depart­ment, that the lat­est rat­ings by global cit­i­zen­ship ad­vi­sory group Hen­ley & Part­ners, peg South Africa’s pass­port power rank­ing at an un­flat­ter­ing 52 in the world, down 17 places since 2008.

Per­haps noth­ing il­lus­trates our fallen travel doc­u­ment sta­tus bet­ter than the fact that, de­spite mem­ber coun­tries of the Brics as­so­ci­a­tion of emerg­ing economies (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa) hav­ing com­mit­ted them­selves to drop­ping travel re­stric­tions be­tween one an­other, and China and South Africa hav­ing signed a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing to achieve just that, South Africans still re­quire visas for travel to China or In­dia.

With his po­lit­i­cal men­tor, Zuma, ef­fec­tively neutered, and the Gup­tas fugi­tives from jus­tice, Gi­gaba is po­lit­i­cally and legally ex­posed. His con­tin­ued ar­ro­gance, bare de­nials and ob­fus­ca­tion amid mount­ing ev­i­dence and find­ings of wrong­do­ing beg­gar be­lief. Iron­i­cally, it could take an air­port ter­mi­nal for Gi­gaba to reach his po­lit­i­cal ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity as his past catches up with him.

A leaked let­ter on an ANC let­ter­head, ad­dressed to Fire­blade Avi­a­tion, in­ex­orably im­pli­cates the ANC in scan­dal. The let­ter, os­ten­si­bly “grant­ing” per­mis­sion for Fire­blade to op­er­ate a pri­vate ter­mi­nal at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port, ex­poses the ANC’s in­her­ent dis­po­si­tion to in­ter­fere in state af­fairs.

It ap­pears that the Gup­tas, who de­vel­oped a be­lated in­ter­est in Fire­blade’s com­mer­cially strate­gic con­ces­sion, may have leaned on Gi­gaba to re­verse his ear­lier de­ci­sion. This could ex­plain his som­er­saults be­fore court. Gi­gaba’s de­nounce­ments of the con­ces­sion con­tra­dict ANC com­mit­ments made to Fire­blade and sug­gest dis­cord within the ANC on the mat­ter.

Nev­er­the­less, state­ments sug­gest­ing that Gi­gaba is a crusader against “white monopoly cap­i­tal” and that the hand of said cap­i­tal is re­spon­si­ble for his woes are mis­placed and seem in­tended to stoke racial an­i­mus.

If any­thing, the colour of the hand that sin­gle-hand­edly stroked Gi­gaba’s mem­ber in the leaked X-rated video is as black as they come (no pun in­tended!).

It is the same ex­u­ber­ant hand that en­tan­gled Gi­gaba in a labyrinth of eth­i­cal mis­con­duct and wrong­do­ing. This in­cludes sign­ing the in­fa­mous let­ter over­rid­ing a home af­fairs di­rec­tor­gen­eral de­ci­sion to not fast-track the Gupta fam­ily’s ap­pli­ca­tion for nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion. Also, it was Gi­gaba’s hand-writ­ten ap­proval of the Fire­blade con­ces­sion that con­trib­uted to his com­mit­ting per­jury.

Apro­pos, the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor found that Gi­gaba con­tra­vened var­i­ous pre­scripts gov­ern­ing mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and Cabi­net. He protests his in­no­cence, but Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is en­joined by re­me­dial ac­tion of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor to dis­ci­pline his er­rant min­is­ter. A nar­cis­sis­tic Gi­gaba points a fin­ger at ev­ery­one but him­self for the bed he made – a bed he must now lie on.

Gi­gaba, who openly es­pouses pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions, has made it clear that he will not step aside vol­un­tar­ily. If Ramaphosa, who seems to al­ways walk on eggshells when it comes to deal­ing with Zuma apol­o­gists, ever needed po­lit­i­cal cover to fire Gi­gaba, the courts and the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor have just handed him some. It seems that Gi­gaba, who is with­out com­punc­tion, feels em­bold­ened by the prece­dents set by other ANC lead­ers who brushed off calls for their res­ig­na­tion when con­fronted with sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

Gi­gaba is pro­foundly aware that should he va­cate of­fice pre­ma­turely, his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions risk been scup­pered. He must, man­i­festly, re­main in­tran­si­gent and cast him­self as a vic­tim of fac­tional po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions.

Hope­fully he will soon re­alise the fool­ish­ness of em­bel­lish­ing his po­lit­i­cal power and im­por­tance.

Nev­er­the­less, it takes a BEE askari of a spe­cial kind to wage an un­abashed at­tack on our dis­tressed body politic.

Shame, that time­less bea­con of right and wrong has long parted ways with what is left of Gi­gaba’s ter­mi­nally cap­tured soul.

Khaas is ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Cor­po­rate SA. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @tebo­gokhaas SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word GI­GABA and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50. By par­tic­i­pat­ing, you agree to re­ceive oc­ca­sional mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial

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