Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba says his resignation is “not an admission of guilt” as he plans to challenge Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding against him in the Fireblade Aviation matter.
Gigaba resigned earlier on Tuesday – a day before President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to act on him after Mkhwebane had given Ramaphosa 20 days, ending on Wednesday, to discipline Gigaba, who she says violated the Constitution and the executive members ethics code when he was found to have lied under oath.
This was in relation to the matter involving the Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.
The family said Gigaba had given his approval for the terminal but later reneged – a claim the courts agreed with, ruling that Gigaba had lied.
But in a statement on Tuesday night, Gigaba said he would fight Mkhwebane’s findings.
“The integrity and public standing of the government and the African National Congress of which I am a loyal and proud member is more important than any political office bearer,” he said.
“In this regard, I have filed an application for judicial review of the Public Protector’s finding with respect to the Fireblade Aviation matter and also intend to defend all other matters which resulted from my term of office as a member of Cabinet.”
Gigaba said he had decided to resign “after a long period of sustained and vitriolic public attacks on my integrity”.
“I wish to state that my resignation is not an admission of guilt on my part,” he added.
Gigaba had a meeting with Ramaphosa on Friday in what was believed to be a last-ditch effort to save his job.
But it was not to be and Gigaba resigned of his own accord, Ekurhuleni Mayor and ANC chairperson in the region Mzwandile Masina told News24.
“We met with him in the morning, discussed this issue and said the writing is on the wall and that it was best for him to resign.”
“To stay on and wait to be fired is arrogant,” Masina said.
His resignation comes after weeks of spectacular setbacks for the former finance minister, including the leaking of a sex video of him touching himself which went viral.
Gigaba said he wished “the president and colleagues in Cabinet success in efforts to save the country from the current economic crisis and our ongoing work to improve the quality of the lives of our people”.
He remained “a committed and disciplined member of the ANC and will, in the context of the call #ThumaMina, continue to execute any tasks that the organisation might deem it necessary to instruct me to fulfill”, he added.