Public Protector finds Gigaba violated the ethics code over the Fireblade saga

2018-10-31 14:50
Malusi Gigaba (File, Netwerk24)

Malusi Gigaba (File, Netwerk24)

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Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has landed in hot water again, after the Public Protector found that he not only violated the executive ethics code, but also the Constitution for "deliberately telling untruths under oath".

In 2017, North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that Gigaba lied under oath but also violated the Constitution. The judgment followed a court battle which Fireblade Aviation, owned by the wealthy Oppenheimer family, had lodged in November 2016 against the Department of Home Affairs and others.

READ: Oppenheimers can go ahead with private terminal

News24 previously reported that 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 during his first stint as Minister of Home Affairs – could not be revoked.

It is alleged that Gigaba revoked the approval he originally granted, under pressure from the Guptas.

READ: Gigaba agreed to Fireblade airport facility - Oppenheimer 

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

READ: Court finds Gigaba lied under oath 

On Wednesday, Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against the minister of home affairs.

Mkhwebane also cleared Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu of wrong doing after the Public Protector's office received a complaint of allegations that Zulu had violated the Executive Ethics Code. 

The public protector said a complaint was lodged by DA MP Toby Chance in 2018 following Zulu's response before Parliament in 2017 regarding ministerial vehicles for the department. 

Chance accused Zulu of misleading Parliament about new cars that were allegedly in the process of being bought for Zula by the department.

Zulu said that she drove a Lexus and did not have a BMW as alleged.

Mkhwebane found that Zulu had responded honestly based on the current vehicles being utilised by her and her deputy.

Zulu had said at the time of her reply, she was not aware that cars were being purchased for herself and her deputy.

"Based on the response received from the Minister, a finding could not be made that Ms Zulu willfully misled Parliament, nor that she prevented Parliament from exercising its oversight function over the department, said Mkhwebane. 

She added that no merits could be found to the allegations and that a closure report has been submitted to the complainant and the president.

Former Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko was also let of the hook by the Mkhwebane after being accused of improperly awarding a contract worth R30m to an NGO by the name of Indoni, which is run by his partner Dr Nomcebo Mthembu, without going on an open tender.

The complaint was laid by DA MP Zakhele Mbhele.

In her investigation, Mkhwebane said that she found out that the Public Service Commission (PSC) investigated the tender allegations and that they found that there was no contract worth R30 million.

PSC also found that documents provided showed that around R1.2m was paid to Indoni and that the payments made by the Civilian Secretariat of Police Services failed to comply with the National Treasury practices.

Mkhwebane also said that at the time, when a memorandum of understanding was signed with Indoni, Nhleko was not yet appointed as the minister of police and was not involved in the administrative processes leading to the utilisation of the services of Indoni and the subsequent payment to the service provider.

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