JOHANNESBURG. – South Africa’s home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba has resigned “for the sake of the country and the movement to which he belongs”, according to a statement from the Presidency. Transport Minister Blade Nzimande will be acting minister of home affairs.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in the statement: “Minister Gigaba indicated in his letter of resignation that he was stepping aside for the sake of our country and the movement to which he belongs.
“Further to relieve the President from undue pressure and allow him to focus on improving the lives of the people of South Africa and for him to do the best he can to serve the country and save it from this economic meltdown.”
President Ramaphosa thanked Gigaba for his “longstanding service to the government and people of South Africa”.
Gigaba has been under fire in recent weeks after the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court upheld an earlier finding that he lied to the High Court in the Fireblade saga.
The Public Protector also recommended that President Ramaphosa take action against the minister in terms of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.
Besides Gigaba’s political travails, he was also embarrassed after a video leaked which showed him in a sexual act.
It was reported over the weekend that Gigaba met with President Ramaphosa last week in an attempt to smooth over the fallout of the court judgments. He allegedly told the president that he never lied and that his full account of events were never taken into consideration.
Phone calls to Gigaba’s spokesperson as well as Khusela Diko, President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson went unanswered.
The presidency said Gigaba resigned of his own accord: “He resigned of his own accord, he showed some remorse and decided to step aside,” 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,” added Masina.
He said the former minister’s friends and comrades advised him to step down and fight his battles outside of government.
“We said he must think of the ANC and his family, telling him it was best to step aside and fight the issues from outside,” said Masina.
Gigaba has been at the centre of numerous controversies, which led to growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to axe him.
Masina, who has been publicly defending Gigaba, refused to name others who took part in the Tuesday meeting. But said there appeared to be an understanding that the younger generation of leaders within the party, would not get a chance to lead it.
“There is a whole generation being wiped out of government, it has no prospects,” said Masina.
He told News24 this was linked to internal battles within the ANC.
Gigaba himself has previously said there was a campaign to destroy him, accusing Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises of joining in on the campaign after a report into his role at Eskom was leaked.
“We are blaming no one, he is taking responsibility and he will fight,” said Masina of his comrade and friend. – News24