Fireblade saga: Parly committee wants answers from Gigaba, concerned he wasted taxpayers' money on litigation

2018-11-01 22:18
Malusi Gigaba. (Picture: Gallo/Getty Images)

Malusi Gigaba. (Picture: Gallo/Getty Images)

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Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has been asked to appear before a parliamentary committee following a finding by the Public Protector that he lied under oath.

In a statement released on Thursday, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs Hlomani Chauke, said Gigaba would have to clarify "the department's view on the granting of permission for the operation of a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport".

The minister has been called to appear before the committee next Tuesday.

Chauke said the committee met with the owners of Fireblade Aviation, owned by the wealthy Oppenheimer family, saying they presented their side of the story and alleged that the minister lied.

He said the committee was concerned that the operation of a private terminal was done "with a clear agreement that delineates roles and responsibilities and protects taxpayers' monies".

"The Public Protector's findings released yesterday [Wednesday] and the Constitutional Court ruling puts into question the admissibility of information that the department has previously put before the committee. The meeting next week is to ascertain the department's view on the matter now," said Chauke.

READ: ConCourt throws out Gigaba's bid to appeal Fireblade ruling

In 2017, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that Gigaba lied under oath and that he violated the Constitution.

The judgment followed a court battle which Fireblade Aviation lodged in November 2016 against the Department of Home Affairs and others.

Gigaba's initial appeal against the judgment was dismissed in the Supreme Court of Appeal with costs earlier this year.

The Constitutional Court has since followed suit.

Chauke added that it was "only fair" that the committee afforded the department and Gigaba an opportunity to "clarify the matter".

"The findings of the Public Protector and the Constitutional Court ruling point to a total disregard for the taxpayers' resources as large sums of money were spent on frivolous litigation on the matter. The committee has to apply its mind on what then needs to happen in recouping the money spent on litigation."

Chauke said that if requested, the committee would also present information to the ethics committee where the Public Protector report was referred to.

Read more on:    public protector  |  fireblade  |  malusi ­gigaba  |  courts

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