JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has said he will “fight … to the bitter end” against any moves to remove him after the anti-graft watchdog said he should be disciplined for lying under oath, the City Press newspaper reported.
On Wednesday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to discipline Gigaba over remarks made under oath about the wealthy Oppenheimer family’s attempt to open a private airport immigration facility.
Gigaba told the City Press on Sunday that he faced a sustained political onslaught aimed at forcing his resignation.
“If I do that [resign], I will be giving in to a devious plot … No, they must bring the war, I am ready for it. I am going to fight it to the bitter end. They must not think they can walk all over me,” Gigaba was quoted as saying.
His spokesman declined to comment further on his comments to the newspaper, which said he had denied giving any approval to the Oppenheimer family’s bid to open an immigration facility.
A South African court ruled in December 2017 that Gigaba had lied under oath, violating the constitution, when he denied having ever approved an application by the Oppenheimers to operate an immigration service for wealthy VIPs at Johannesburg’s main airport.
Nicky Oppenheimer, former chairman of diamond miner De Beers and one of South Africa’s wealthiest people, told a parliamentary committee this week that Gigaba had initially approved his family’s plan to open a private terminal at OR Tambo airport in 2016.
It was the latest setback for Gigaba, who said last week that he had faced blackmail threats over a private sex video that was leaked after he reported that his phone had been hacked.
Ramaphosa took office in February after his scandal-plagued predecessor, Jacob Zuma, resigned on orders of the ruling African National Congress after nine years in office blighted by corruption, economic mismanagement and disputed appointments. Gigaba was finance minister during Zuma’s final year in office.
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Mark Heinrich)