Embattled Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has resigned. According to a statement issued by the Presidency on Tuesday, Gigaba’s resignation has been accepted by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande will act as Minister of Home Affairs until a permanent appointment is made.
Later on Tuesday evening, Gigaba released a statement saying that his resignation was not an admission of guilt: “I did so after a long period of sustained and vitriolic public attacks on my integrity. I wish to state that my resignation is not an admission of guilt on my part.“
In February this year the Pretoria high court found that Gigaba had lied about not granting permission for the Oppenheimer’s to operate the private Fireblade terminal at OR Tambo airport. The judgement was confirmed when the Constitutional Court rejected the minister’s appeal earlier this month.
Gigaba continued to make headlines when Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report confirmed he had violated the Constitution, the Executive Ethics Code and Parliament’s Code of Ethics by lying under oath about the Fireblade saga. Ramaphosa was given 20 days to take disciplinary action against his minister by Mkhwebane while speaker Baleka Mbete was given 14 days to refer Gigaba to the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests.
Gigaba has held several positions in government, from minister of public enterprises to finance minister and later home affairs minister.
Gigaba, in his position as home affairs minister, was involved in the early naturalisation of the Gupta family, a decision that is now the subject of a parliamentary investigation. However, Gigaba insisted at a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting that he only met the Gupta family for “social cohesion reasons” and was not influenced by the family.
A leaked Eskom report released earlier this month called for Gigaba along with former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown to be criminally investigated over mismanagement at the power utility.
The Democratic Alliance had also filed an application to the high court in Pretoria in October, challenging both Gigaba and Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini’s appointment to Ramaphosa’s cabinet in February this year.
Over the last few weeks, commentators have questioned whether the minister was likely to resign — sparked in part by the leaking of a video of Gigaba masturbating. (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg)