Gigaba state capture session on Twitter raises eyebrows

2018-09-30 11:53

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba’s decision to respond to state capture allegations via Twitter raised eyebrows among some social media users over the weekend.

“Let me set aside the next hour to addressing the narrative that I was ever/am captured by the Guptas. I undertake to address every direct allegation underpinning this narrative. Arbitrary and speculative insults, however, I will respectfully ignore. Please talk to me…” tweeted Gigaba late on Saturday night.

His response to the first question, by user, The Nature Boy, as to whether he was appointed by the Gupta’s was simply “no”.

He offered the same answer when questioned by user 25_Hills as to whether Zuma had given him “instructions to go and meet with the Gupta brothers?”

Instead Gigaba said that he had met them “in my capacity as a deputy minister and minister.”

Furthermore, he later added in another tweet: “I have said it a million times. I only ever visited the Gupta home for religious/social events attended by members of the public and various other political and business leaders. I doubt that these exceed 5.”

Turning to a different subject, a user with the handle @zweesta, asked Gigaba whether he believed he had been “the best candidate for Min of Finance when Zuma appointed you at the time he did? Did you not think the timing was wrong or suspect you were being used or a plan was to use you given the climate at that time?”

Gigaba’s answer seemed to raise more questions rather than offer closure.

He replied: “One day, the story of how I came to be appointed Finance Minister will be told in full. Ditto the story of my tenure as Finance Minister. For now, just be reminded that it was I who came up with the idea of the SARS commission that is currently underway.”

Gigaba was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma as finance minister in March 2017 amidst a public outcry over various shuffles in the position. 

He was moved from this position to Home Affairs in February 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, after Zuma stepped down.

When a user with the handle @Bajo_Bajo told Gigaba he “sold out” former President Zuma, Gigaba replied: “I could never sell out Msholozi as I never joined him.  I joined the ANC.”

Nevertheless, he added: “Msholozi continues to be my leader and comrade”.

On another matter raised during the Twitter session, Gigaba’s explanation that the SA-India route for SAA had been closed in 2015 “because it was unprofitable,” was dismissed as implausible by a number of users.

Gigaba then followed up declaring “the problems at SAA are structural and complex. Full flights do not necessarily mean profitable flights. Sadly, the matter is too complex to ventilate exhaustively here…”

Controversy continues to surround the move made in 2015 as allegations emerged that the Guptas apparently instructed the ‘captured’ SOE to shut the route as they were keen to take over.

While Gigaba made it clear he did not see himself as involved in any state capture, he did reply in the affirmative to a question by Victor Gwande as to whether in general there ever was any state capture.

“Yes, there are enough documented allegations of a project (specifically, by the Guptas) to hijack the procurement function across various govt departments and parastatals. By all indications, this project did not start with the Guptas and may not end with them,” said Gigaba.

He said that when it came to allegations of his links to the project, he would be willing to testify at the state capture inquiry commission - although he said he didn't believe this would not be necessary.

“I am willing to appear before Judge Zondo anytime he decides it is necessary that I do so. That said, I doubt he will ever decide that it is.”

He followed up with another tweet:

“I am still saying that everything will be alright. Unlike the sponsors of the propaganda against me, Judge Zondo relies on direct testimony and evidence. It is impossible to come up with the latter, at least, about things that simply never happened.”

During the session, journalist Ranjeni Munsamy tweeted to the State Capture Commission’s account, stating: “there is a minister answering questions about his relationship with the Guptas on Twitter now. Perhaps the commission is a more appropriate forum to respond to numerous allegations under oath. Please invite @mgigaba to testify.”

Read more on:    malusi gigaba  |  state capture  |  social media

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