by TINTSWALO BALOYI
PRETORIA – HOME Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday tendered his resignation as cabinet minister.
The presidency immediately accepted Gigaba’s departure from government saying the move had relieved President Cyril Ramaphosa from undue public pressure.
Ramaphosa appointed transport minister Blade Nzimande as acting home affairs minister till a replacement was found.
The resignation of Gigaba followed a litany of allegations against him which were linked to the Gupta corruption.
“The president has accepted the minister’s resignation and expressed his appreciation for Minister’s Gigaba longstanding service to the government and people of South Africa,” the Presidency said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gigaba said he would remain a committed and disciplined member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
“I did so (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,” Gigaba wrote to president Ramaphosa.
He said the integrity and public standing of the government and ANC of which he was a loyal and proud member was more important than any political office bearer.
“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.
The former ANC Youth League leader joined cabinet as deputy minister in 2004 before assuming full ministerial duties in 2010 when president Jacob Zuma removed then public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan.
Gigaba also briefly served as minister of finance before being re-appointed to the home affairs portfolio.
He rose into political power in 1996 when he became ANC member of parliament (MP) and ANCYL president in 1999 moving fast from periods between 1996 and 2004, the year in which he was also appointed deputy minister of home affairs by previous president Thabo Mbeki.
“During this period, I have sought to execute my responsibilities to the best of my abilities. In all the departments to which I was deployed, I was privileged to serve with dedicated and capable colleagues and members of the civil service.
“Accordingly, I wish to thank the ANC and the Presidents (Cyril Ramaphosa) who deployed me into all the positions of trust and responsibility. My sincere gratitude also goes to staff and Directors-General of all the departments I have had the privilege to lead,” Gigaba said.
However, Gigaba was embroiled in allegations of corruption centred around the state capture by the Gupta scandals.
Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) welcomed Gigaba’s resignation while accusing the former minister of being a a stooge of the Guptas.
“Malusi Gigaba had been a Gupta stooge who was the engine of state capture under Jacob Zuma. He (Gigaba) ensured that the Guptas attain citizenship in South Africa, aiding them to qualify for deals with state-owned enterprises. Throughout his tenure as minister, Malusi Gigaba has been a shame, corrupt and unpatriotic,” the EFF said in a statement.
– CAJ News