BLF threatens bribery charges against Oppenheimers

Fireblade Aviation's terminal at OR Tambo. (Fireblade Aviation website)
Fireblade Aviation's terminal at OR Tambo. (Fireblade Aviation website)

Black First Land First announced its intention on Tuesday to lodge fraud, bribery and corruption complaints with police against Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer over the circumstances surrounding Fireblade Aviation.

This after the Oppenheimers along with Fireblade Aviation director Manne Dipico appeared before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs earlier over the establishment of Fireblade's non-scheduled air traffic facility at OR Tambo International Airport, which Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has denied clearing.

Nicky Oppenheimer, on the other hand, has maintained that Gigaba approved it. The North Gauteng High Court found Gigaba was guilty of lying under oath during his tenure as Home Affairs Minister after the Oppenheimers filed a lawsuit against him.

BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp told Fin24 that BLF pressed charges at Cape Buitenkant police station, but could not immediately provide a case number.

"The charges relate specifically to the private ownership of Fireblade as an airport inside of the airport. Our view is that this is a corrupt process that followed no government protocol as it was simply rubber stamped at Luthuli House," said Maasdorp.

Nicky Oppenheimer told Fin24 that he was not troubled by BLF's announcement, saying he had nothing to worry about if subjected to a fair trial.

"Such is life. That is what a democracy is all about. I just think it’s unsatisfactory to have that kind of thing happen in Parliament. But it doesn’t faze me. Sticks and stones. All we ask for is a level playing field. Everybody must be treated the same and however you do it, that’s fine," said Oppenheimer.

Earlier on during the committee meeting, members of BLF disrupted the meeting, demanding that Fireblade Aviation be shut down, and intimidating Nicky Oppenheimer. Several members tried to lunge at him but were escorted by bouncers out of the venue.

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