Politics

'I did not get support': Malusi Gigaba on ANC seniors and 'untruths' told in Fireblade saga

'I did not get support': Malusi Gigaba on ANC seniors and 'untruths' told in Fireblade saga

Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba says ANC senior members never supported him during mounting calls for his resignation in 2018.

This after he came under fire for lying under oath about approving the Fireblade contract for the wealthy Oppenheimer family.

In 2018, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court upheld a finding that Gigaba had lied to the high court in the Fireblade saga. A year later, Gigaba was implicated at the state capture inquiry when deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo heard a number of allegations against Gigaba during witness testimony. Allegations included Gigaba pushing for the national airline to drop its Johannesburg-Mumbai route, and breaking good governance rules at SAA.

Speaking on 702 last week, Gigaba said senior ANC leaders had not come to his defence.

“I do not think that I got support, especially given the fact that senior people in the ANC administration had interfered in that situation and contributed to causing the confusion,” he said.

Gigaba maintains he was innocent of involvement in the Fireblade saga, and that he never lied under oath when he said he did not approve the operation of a privately owned air traffic terminal owned by the Oppenheimer family.

In 2018, TimesLIVE reported that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had found that Gigaba had not only violated the executive ethics code, but also the country's constitution by “deliberately telling untruths under oath”.

Her findings came after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in 2017 that Gigaba had lied and violated the constitution by his conduct during a court battle over the Oppenheimer's operation of a VIP terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.

According to Gigaba, the Fireblade case was already there when he became home affairs minister in 2017.

“It actually still beats me how the Public Finance Management Act was cast away by the court and instead ruled the minister had awarded Fireblade, when several letters throughout that year, including the last one I wrote in October 2016, had clearly stated that, in actual fact, I disapproved,” said Gigaba.

“A minister doesn't have power to award contracts or tenders. To claim that I had lied under oath was not only judicial overreach but also begs the question as to what informed that decision.”

On allegations made against him at the state capture inquiry, Gigaba said the witnesses were “dishonest and disingenuous”.

“The fact that they have made those allegations doesn’t make the allegations binding because they have only stated their own points of view,” said Gigaba.

“When I came to the public enterprises department, SAA was in dire financial distress. It had applied for several bailouts. There was instability at management and board levels. Eskom had just been given a R350m government guarantee, so it was already in financial distress.”

Gigaba was appointed public enterprises minister in 2010 by former president Jacob Zuma.