Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba’s bad week got even worse yesterday after public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report stating that he had violated the country’s constitution and the executive ethics code.
Mkhwebane recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa take appropriate disciplinary action against him.
The finding comes in the wake of a sex tape going public and Gigaba being labelled in parliament as a liar. Mkhwebane’s report came after DA MP John Steenhuisen lodged a complaint with the public protector in February, in which he attached a judgment delivered by the high court in Pretoria in 2017. In the judgment‚ in the matter between Fireblade Aviation and Gigaba, judge Neil Tuchten held, among other things, that “… there is no escaping of the conclusion that … the minister has deliberately told untruths under oath”. Steenhuisen‚ in his complaint‚ said Gigaba not only lied under oath but also acted in breach of his constitutional duties. Mkhwebane yesterday said: “Following my investigation‚ I sent minister Gigaba a notice on October 8 2018 to afford him an opportunity to respond to the provisional findings. I gave him 10 days from the date of the notice within which to respond.” She said Gigaba failed to respond and the final report was compiled accordingly. Mkhwebane said she was not investigating issues that had been before the court‚ but her focus was on whether or not
the minister’s conduct as found by the court consistent with the relevant provisions of the executive ethics code. Mkhwebane said that, as a member of the executive‚ telling an untruth under oath and before a court of law was a direct violation of the constitution and the executive ethics code.
In her remedial action‚ the public protector said Ramaphosa must advise her what action was to be taken within 20 days. But, yesterday the minister’s office said he had just received the report and was studying it. “He will advise on the next course of action in due course.” Gigaba’s week started on a bad note on Sunday after a video showing his private parts was posted on social media. He claimed his phone had been hacked and the material was meant for his wife. But Sowetan established that he apparently spoke out publicly because those who had the video were demanding R5m, or they would make it public.
Then, to compound his woes, on Tuesday both Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer of Fireblade Aviation appeared before parliament, where they denied that a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport was operated exclusively for the family.
“Since inception, including domestic and international operations, we have had some 13 884 movements, the vast majority of those have been domestic movements and the family itself has been responsible for 5% of those movements, so by no means an exclusive use for the family,” said Jonathan.
He said he met with Gigaba in January 2016 in Pretoria and the minister’s final approval for the customs and immigration service to be provided at the terminal was granted.
“Following this meeting, home affairs failed to act on the approval granted by the minister.”
This led to the legal challenge which saw a high court ruling in favour of Fireblade Aviation and even accusing Gigaba of lying under oath for saying he did not grant approval. Gigaba’s appeal was also dismissed. It is understood he now intends approaching the Constitutional Court.