Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Explainer: Why Malusi Gigaba Could Find Himself Back In Court Very Soon

What a week Malusi Gigaba is having. He's facing a near billion-rand subpoena and his deals with the Oppenheimers are coming under the microscope.


Had a bad weekend? Spare a thought for Malusi Gigaba. Not only has he had to front up about his “sex tape” getting leaked, but it now looks like the home affairs minister is heading back to court.

The embattled politician is facing the heat from the Fireblade saga. With a name that cool, you know something big is happening. Oh, and it’s also got the Oppenheimer family right at the nucleus of it all. Malusi Gigaba, near enough addicted to the drama, has got another (potentially more serious) fight on his hands.

But it’s a case of double-trouble for Gigabyte. He’s also been subpoenaed for allowing a home affairs bill of R67 million to balloon to R794 million. By failing to pay an IT company – Double Ring Trading – before their liquidation, administrators are now chasing a much higher total.

The deal between Malusi Gigaba and Fireblade

Here’s where Gigaba got his fingers burned. Back in 2016, he struck a deal with the Oppenheimers to allow them the use of a “VIP terminal” – effectively giving all their clients and commuters access to a private customs and security section independent from the rest of the airport.
Explainer: Why Malusi Gigaba Could Find Himself Back In Court Very Soon
However, Gigaba got cold feet, and by the end of the year he was trying to back out of the deal. Nicky Oppenheimer wasn’t having this, and the two were soon squabbling in a courthouse a year later.

When Gigaba got called a liar by the high court

Malusi Gigaba isn’t a very good liar. Not only did he get himself in a twist trying to cover up the Gupta naturalisation debacle, but he was also scalded by a North Gauteng High Court that blamed him for “lying under oath” when Fireblade was brought to the dock.

He is said to have fibbed when he outright told Judge Neil Tuchten that no deal had ever been agreed. However, his defence was unconvincing, leaving him with no choice but to appeal the judgement. His application to ConCourt was dismissed with costs, but that hasn’t yet made Gigaba come clean.

Why Malusi Gigaba is heading back to court

The ConCourt ruled that it was up to the appeals court to make the decision on this matter, and not them. This has been left to hang in the balance for the last eight months now, and it has got a point where Parliament are now trying to intervene.
The Oppenheimers will face Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs on Tuesday, to bring some much-needed clarity to the issue. However, Gigaba’s next move is to go back to ConCourt.

The Double Ring Trading case

Going back to court for Fireblade would be his choice. However, Gigaba will not have the same luxury when it comes to fronting up for the IT fiasco, which could end up costing the taxpayer almost R1 billion.

He’s done the North, so the South Gauteng High Court decided to come for him earlier this month. The minister is due to face a court-appointed presiding officer, where he will be required to provide documents relating to the government’s efforts to avoid paying what they owed.

In 2005, Double Ring Trading was contracted by the department of home affairs to oversee and implement an effective information technology system in Tshwane, referred to as the information and communication technology (ICT) hub.

Gigaba’s move saw 150 people lose their jobs when Double Ring eventually folded. The R794 million figure is based on the interest rate of 5% plus prime value on a dollar basis.

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