What Malusi might write in his di­ary


● Home af­fairs min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba is dig­ging in his heels, tabling a 30-point pre­sen­ta­tion with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to try to con­vince his boss he did not lie when he told the court he never ap­proved the Op­pen­heimers’ Fire­blade air­port ter­mi­nal.

At a meet­ing at the pres­i­dent’s pri­vate home in Jo­han­nes­burg on Fri­day, Gi­gaba is said to have also come armed with an e-mail that he be­lieves proves that Fire­blade col­luded with Gupta-owned Oak­bay to get ap­proval to op­er­ate the VVIP ter­mi­nal.

The meet­ing came af­ter the ANC’s top six of­fi­cials are said to have agreed that Ramaphosa must take ac­tion against Gi­gaba af­ter the courts and the pub­lic pro­tec­tor found he had lied un­der oath when he de­nied grant­ing ap­proval to Fire­blade.

Ramaphosa’s spokesper­son, Khusela Diko, con­firmed the meet­ing but de­clined to di­vulge de­tails.

Diko said Ramaphosa is com­mit­ted to com­ply­ing with pub­lic pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s rec­om­men­da­tions to take ac­tion against Gi­gaba by this Wed­nes­day.

In­sid­ers said Gi­gaba told Ramaphosa that the courts and Mkhwe­bane “erred” in their con­clu­sions. He said the in­ter­nal memo that the courts re­lied on to prove he ap­proved the deal were notes he scrib­bled on a let­ter and were meant for the deputy di­rec­tor of im­mi­gra­tion ser­vices. He said the “ap­proval” he wrote “in haste” on the let­ter was taken out of con­text, as he was merely agree­ing in prin­ci­ple. It was not a de­fin­i­tive ap­proval.

Gi­gaba told Ramaphosa the courts only up­held the find­ing that he lied be­cause his suc­ces­sor at home af­fairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, did not ap­peal that par­tic­u­lar find­ing.

He said that con­trary to the courts’ find­ings, he de­clined the Op­pen­heimers’ ap­pli­ca­tion in a let­ter to them in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Gi­gaba is said to be buoyed by the emer­gence of an e-mail that Fire­blade di­rec­tor Rob­bie Irons is said to have writ­ten to Gupta lieu­tenants Ron­ica Ra­ga­van and Ashu Chawla on May 6 2015.

In the e-mail, Irons up­dates the Gup­tas on meet­ings with Ja­cob Zuma, and tells them that Gi­gaba had signed a “res­o­lu­tion” paving the way for the deal to be ap­proved. In ad­di­tion, he tells the Gup­tas that Gi­gaba has been in­structed by the govern­ment to “stop mess­ing around” and ap­prove the project.

Con­tacted for comment, Gi­gaba de­clined to speak about the Ramaphosa meet­ing.

How­ever, he said Irons’s e-mail was proof

In the e-mail, Fire­blade di­rec­tor Rob­bie Irons up­dates Gupta lieu­tenants on meet­ings to do with the ter­mi­nal

that the Op­pen­heimers col­lab­o­rated with the Gup­tas. He said Irons’s claim that he, Gi­gaba, had signed a “res­o­lu­tion” was a lie. “What is this res­o­lu­tion? There is no such a thing in govern­ment.” Gi­gaba said the Op­pen­heimers never men­tioned the e-mail in court as it con­tra­dicted their ar­gu­ment that it was he who was bat­ting for the Gup­tas.

Fire­blade con­firmed up­dat­ing the Gup­tas on its ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause they were Fire­blade’s clients. The com­pany said the re­la­tion­ship was ter­mi­nated af­ter “a po­ten­tial se­cu­rity con­cern” at the Fire­blade ter­mi­nal.

The Sun­day Times un­der­stands that Ramaphosa told the ANC of­fi­cials last Satur­day that he had re­ceived Mkhwe­bane’s re­port and had un­til Wed­nes­day to take ac­tion. The of­fi­cials are said to have agreed in prin­ci­ple that Gi­gaba’s ac­tions were in­ex­cus­able and that ac­tion be taken against him. Ramaphosa is said to have won the ar­gu­ment that sim­i­lar steps be taken against min­is­ter of women Batha­bile Dlamini.

A source close to the pres­i­dent said he wanted to take ac­tion against the pair be­fore he op­posed the DA’s court ac­tion aimed at forc­ing him to fire them. ANC spokesper­son Pule Mabe did not re­spond to a re­quest for comment.

In­sid­ers said Gi­gaba has been ad­vised by some al­lies, in­clud­ing Ekurhu­leni mayor Mzwandile Masina, that he should con­sider stepping down. But Masina said he stood by Gi­gaba on the Fire­blade is­sue. “I have ad­vised him on the pos­si­ble op­tions, but I will not dis­cuss them with the me­dia.”

Pic­ture: Esa Alexan­der

Min­is­ter of home af­fairs Malusi Gi­gaba ap­pears be­fore the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee this week.

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