South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Sunday apologised to his family that a “video containing material of a sexual nature, meant for our eyes only” had leaked and been used in an attempt to blackmail him.
He stated on Twitter that the video had been “stolen when my communication got illegally intercepted/my phone got hacked in 2016/17.”
ZimLive has seen the 13-second video, which shows Gigaba, with his T-Shirt pulled up, stroking his anaconda. He says on the video: “Mhh, imagine if this was in your mouth, oh baby!”
It is not believed that video was sent to his wife, Nomachule.
A mobile phone screenshot which circulated on social media on Sunday of a conversation between Gigaba and his former mistress, Buhle Mkhize, reveals that the minister desperately pleaded with her to “delete those pictures and videos” and not to upload them to a South African pornographic website.
“For old times sake (sic) please do the right thing. Remember all I have done for you. That video and those pictures will destroy me. Please don’t upload them on (website name) please I beg you,” Gigaba purportedly wrote to Mkhize.
The authenticity of the exchange between the two could not be verified, but it fits into the events around a social media spat that erupted between Gigaba’s wife Nomachule and Mkhize in May 2017.
Meanwhile, Speaking to Radio 702’s Bongani Bingwa, Gigaba's personal spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize says the minister's phone was hacked by State Security Agency (SSA) officials but Gigaba only found out that fact about three months after he had started to receive calls with demands.
“He [Gigaba] was presented with the information by somebody working within the establishment,” Mkhize says.
Mkhize claims Gigaba reported the matter to the inspector-general in September of 2017.
Mkhize said Gigaba first alerted the State Security Agency that his phone had been illegally accessed.
He later handed them documentary information which Gigaba said proved that his phone had been hacked.
"They [the hackers] initially demanded cash, and when that didn't work, they wanted Gigaba to use his influence as minister to facilitate business opportunities," said Mkhize.
The alleged blackmailers' identities were unknown to Gigaba.
"Even if the minister agreed to help them with whatever they wanted, it would have been impossible because they contacted him anonymously. We hired investigators to look at the matter and identified two individuals who we believe are involved. There was, however, nothing conclusive to link them and trust that the authorities will be able to make the link," Mkhize told News24.
The first attempts to blackmail Gigaba were made in April and May 2017, Mkhize said.
He reported the matter to State Security in May and June 2017.
Gigaba replaced Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance in March 2017.
His stated objective then was to stabilise the country's finances and attempt to give policy certainty.