Minister Malusi Gigaba's week from hell


No matter how badly your week is going, it can't be worse than the one Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba is having.

His began with a sex tape and ended with a court judgment. Gigaba has truly had a week from hell.

On Sunday, October 28 at 06:52, Gigaba's week kicked off with a series of tweets, announcing that a "video containing content of a sexual nature" had been leaked. He said it had been used in attempts to blackmail him, and apologised to his family for the embarrassment caused.

It later emerged that the tape only involved Gigaba and it quickly went viral on social media.

Reporting on the issue was initially sombre – many sympathised with the minister, and experts warned about the dangers of sex tapes in the age of social media. But it wasn't long before Gigaba's woes became internet meme fodder, the inspiration behind a Gqom song, and a Zapiro cartoon.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gigaba was in the limelight again, when the Oppenheimer family appeared before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to give evidence about the minister's role in the Fireblade airport saga.

A court found Gigaba guilty of lying when he denied granting permission to the Oppenheimer family's Fireblade Aviation to operate a private terminal at OR Tambo International.

Nicky Oppenheimer reportedly told the home affairs committee that Gigaba was "self-destructing" with his continuous denials.

Oppenheimer's business partner, Manne Dipico, reportedly said Gigaba had granted the company permission "finish en klaar", according to TimesLive.

On Wednesday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gigaba lied under oath and violated the executive ethics code. Gigaba was reported to Mkhwebane by the DA in February, following a court judgment which found that he lied to the court when he denied granting permission to Fireblade to operate the private terminal.

Mkhwebane said on Wednesday that Fireblade had obtained permission from several organs of state, including Gigaba in his capacity of minister of Home Affairs. Gigaba's decision to approve the application was confirmed at a meeting in January 2016, she said.

Fireblade went to court in an attempt to force Gigaba to implement this decision.

She recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa take action against Gigaba. The president is applying his mind to the issue.

Next week, the home affairs committee is likely to call Gigaba to account for what happened.

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court dismissed Gigaba's application for leave to appeal the High Court ruling. His initial appeal was dismissed with costs in the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Fireblade welcomed the court's decision on Thursday, saying in a statement: "With this decision, these legal proceedings have now concluded. We are satisfied with the result and the manner in which the legal process has culminated in a just and fair outcome."

But on Twitter, on Thursday, Gigaba's spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, continued to deny that Gigaba approved Fireblade's application.

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