Gigaba survives while other 'Gupta ministers' get the chop

2018-02-27 10:00
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivers the 2018 Budget speech in Cape Town. (Ziyaad Douglas, Gallo Images, file)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivers the 2018 Budget speech in Cape Town. (Ziyaad Douglas, Gallo Images, file)

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Cape Town - Despite the recent emergence of a court finding that he lied under oath, Malusi Gigaba survived President Cyril Ramaphosa's first Cabinet guillotine.

However, other ministers connected to the Guptas - Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Mosebenzi Zwane and Faith Muthambi - got the chop.

Gigaba was moved from the finance portfolio to home affairs, the portfolio he held when he allowed some members of the Gupta family to be naturalised despite not fulfilling residential requirements.

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Gigaba waved the residential requirements for the naturalisation applications of Ajay Gupta, his wife Shivani, mother Angoori, and sons Kamal Kant Singhala and Surya Kant Singhala and granted it to them early.

He said his actions were "by the book".

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs will meet on Tuesday to discuss this matter.

Gigaba allegedly pressured by Guptas

Last week, just before he had to deliver his budget address, it emerged that a court judgment made in December found he had "deliberately told untruths under oath". The court also found that Gigaba violated the Constitution.

The judgment follows a court battle launched by Fireblade Aviation, owned by the wealthy Oppenheimer family, in November 2016 against the Department of Home Affairs and others.

READ: EFF rejects Ramaphosa's Cabinet reshuffle

The application sought to have the court declare that approval for a terminal at OR Tambo International Airport - allegedly granted by Gigaba in early 2016 while he was still minister of home affairs - could not be revoked. It is alleged that Gigaba revoked the approval he originally granted under pressure from the Guptas.

While Gigaba was minister of public enterprises he restructured several state-owned enterprises' boards, loading them with alleged Gupta associates.

Former public enterprises minister Brown and her deputy, Ben Martins, were both cut out of Ramaphosa's Cabinet.

They have been embroiled in various allegations of impropriety unearthed by Parliament's investigation into state capture at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Brown has been replaced by one of the members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises that is conducting that investigation, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Her name also cropped up in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report, State of Capture.

Madonsela's successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found last week that Brown "inadvertently" misled the National Assembly when she denied that there were engagements between power utility Eskom and Gupta-linked company Trillian Capital Partners in answer to a parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance.

End of troubled tenure for Muthambi

Van Rooyen, nicknamed "weekend special" after his controversial and short-lived stint as finance minister, also got the chop. Van Rooyen visited the Gupta home in Saxonwold several times in December 2015, shortly before his days-long tenure as finance minister, Madonsela found in the State of Capture report.

He has since admitted that he met with the Guptas, saying he did so in his capacity as the treasurer-general of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association.

However, this proved that he misled Parliament as - in answer to a question - he previously said he did not meet the Guptas. Mkhwebane made a finding in this regard earlier this month.

Zwane, who was the Free State MEC for agriculture at the time the Guptas allegedly milked the department of R220m in the Vrede dairy farm project, also got booted, to be replaced by African National Congress national chairperson and Ramaphosa ally Gwede Mantashe as minister of mineral resources.

Zwane was also mentioned in the State of Capture report and he allegedly irregularly helped the Guptas acquire Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore.

After South Africa's four major banks closed the Guptas' accounts, Zwane announced that Cabinet had decided to investigate the banks.

Cabinet never approved such a probe.

The troubled tenure in Cabinet of former minister of public service and administration Muthambi, who was previously minister of communications, also came to an end on Monday evening.

The Gupta leaks revealed that she allegedly sent Cabinet information to the Guptas.

The ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board found her "incompetent" and among the dodgy deals that committee highlighted was a deal with the Guptas' The New Age newspaper.

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Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  malusi gigaba  |  cape town  |  politics

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