South African minister Gigaba defies calls to resign

Malusi-Gigaba
Former South Africa finance minister Malusi Gigaba

South Africa’s embattled Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba has defied calls to resign, following repeated scandals in his professional and personal life.

Gigaba, who spoke to privately owned television channel, eNCA, addressed the issue of ‘lying under oath’ and the leaked sex video, issues that have fuelled South Africans’ calls for him to resign.

Lying under oath

Last week, the country’s public standards watchdog recommended that Gigaba should be disciplined for lying under oath and consequently violating the constitution.

I’m not going to resign. I will obviously be guided by the President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress,’‘ Gigaba told eNCA.

“If I do that [resign], I will be giving in to a devious plot … No, they must bring the war, I am ready for it. I am going to fight it to the bitter end. They must not think they can walk all over me.’‘

A South African court ruled in December 2017 that Gigaba had lied under oath, violating the constitution, when he denied having ever approved an application by the Oppenheimers to operate an immigration service for wealthy VIPs at Johannesburg’s main airport.

Nicky Oppenheimer, former chairman of diamond miner De Beers and one of South Africa’s wealthiest people, told a parliamentary committee this week that Gigaba had initially approved his family’s plan to open a private terminal at OR Tambo airport in 2016.

The country’s ombudswoman Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Tuesday recommended that Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against the minister for “telling an untruth under oath and before a court of law”.

The court case hinged on whether Gigaba had approved a private terminal at Johannesburg airport for the Oppenheimers.

Sex scandal

In an unrelated case, Gigaba, 47, last Sunday said on twitter he had been the target of extortion attempts by an opposition politician after a sex videoemerged following what he described as theft by hacking.

The defiant Gigaba said he was not just simply trying to hang on to his job

“It’s about fighting to protect my integrity and to protect my image and to ensure that I do not become a victim of devious political campaigns. I will not be trampled upon,” said the minister.

Speaking to public broadcaster SABC, Gigaba added that the leaking of the video had been politically motivated.

“We (Gigaba and his wife) have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.

Gigaba served as finance minister for a year under Jacob Zuma, who was ousted as president in February over corruption. When Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma, he moved him to the home affairs ministry in February 2018.