Dangerous exposure

2018-10-31 16:19
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba

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While the sexually explicit video featuring Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has turned the former ANCYL president into one of the hottest porn stars in town, the circulation of the sex video also raises important questions about our democracy.

Beyond the jokes elicited by the video, South Africans need to look at it with an analytical mind that goes deeper than matters of human anatomy.

As we joke and make fun of Gigaba following the leaking of what to him is clearly an embarrassing episode, we should not lose sight of the fact that Gigaba occupies — or did at the time of writing — an important office in the country.

While some might argue that it was President Cyril Ramaphosa and not the voters who made Gigaba the minister of Home Affairs, the fact of the matter is that by voting the ANC into power in the 2014 national general elections, we, albeit indirectly, elected Gigaba to the Home Affairs position.

And Gigaba’s appointment came with public expectations attached to it.

Having been deployed to preside over one of the most important portfolios in the government, we expect that whatever decisions Gigaba takes will be in the interests of South Africans, as opposed to certain organisations or individuals whose conduct is driven by ulterior motives.

It is in light of the above that we should, as citizens, be worried by Gigaba’s statement that the sex video found its way into the public domain after officials from the State Security Agency hacked his cellphone.

The video eventually landed in the hands of certain individuals who then attempted to blackmail Gigaba.

A section of South Africans would love to see Gigaba resign following revelations of his alleged role in facilitating state capture by granting permanent SA citizenship to members of the controversial Gupta family.

It is a well-known fact that the Gupta family then went on to use their newly acquired citizenship to corrupt this country’s government leaders and in the process set the country on the path to economic ruin.

However, from what Gigaba tells us — something we have to accept until such time that an alternative version emerges — the blackmailers were less concerned about his track record as Home Affairs minister, all they wanted was for him to give them money in return for making the video disappear.

These blackmailers are nothing but a bunch of criminals perfecting the art of corruption started by the state capture cast of cabinet ministers and senior government officials who saw their main role as serving the interest of private individuals as opposed to the country’s citizens at large.

More worrying is the fact that members from the country’s law-enforcement agencies, who are supposed to be acting in the interests of the citizens at all times, appear to have played a central role in the extortion saga.

Gigaba tells us that the blackmailers circulated his sex video after he refused to pay the money.

However, what Gigaba does not tell South Africans is whether the hackers were able to access other sensitive information, apart from the sex video.

As a minister, Gigaba is a repository of confidential information, which if leaked to people with nefarious agendas could expose the country and its citizens to great harm.

It would be foolish to think that the only damaging information that the thieves could have on a government minister is a sex video.

Were the hackers able to access some of this confidential information?

We all know that the only reason Gigaba tweeted about the raunchy video on Sunday morning is because the embarrassing video was already out in the public domain, and not because he felt that South Africans deserved to know that his cellphone had been hacked.

Without doubt, the Gigaba saga will leave many people wondering whether there are other ministers out there who have been subjected to the same ordeal as Gigaba.

Have some ministers opted to keep quiet and comply with the hackers’ demands?

Whose interests are the country’s state security agents serving?

Indeed, it is only through a sober analysis that citizens will be able to see the wider implications of having a minister under the control of hackers and other nefarious organisations.

It is only when we raise the bar of our dialogue, as opposed to allowing our public discourse to be guided by voyeurism, that we will be able to realise that the hacking of Gigaba’s cellphone does not only expose the minister’s genitals but also leaves the country security systems wide open.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  opinion and analysis

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