Malusi Gigaba’s resignation as Home Affairs minister brings to an end a torrid month that started with a leaked solo sex tape and worsened when his last bid to appeal a court finding that he lied under oath was dismissed by the Constitutional Court. Then the public protector told President Cyril Ramaphosa he had 14 days to take disciplinary steps against Gigaba as lying under oath was a contravention of the Executive Ethics Act and codes.
That deadline for presidential action was Wednesday. And after a widely reported meeting between the president and the minister on Friday, it seems Gigaba made a last-ditch attempt to file legal papers to take the public protector report on review.
If that had been successful, Gigaba would have been able to stay off any disciplinary action from the president on the argument that the report and remedial action were still under review, and thus not final. It is reliably understood the process of filing the legal papers did not proceed without hiccups.
In a statement the Presidency confirmed that Gigaba, in his letter of resignation, indicated he “was stepping aside for the sake of our country and the movement to which he belongs”.
It went on to say the reasons Gigaba gave also included “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”.
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has been appointed to act as Home Affairs minister until a permanent appointment is made, Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said in the statement.
Ramaphosa, who is due to leave for a working visit to the European Union, now has at least two vacancies in his Cabinet, that of Gigaba and the vacancy created by the death of Edna Molewa. Whether he would take this opportunity to announce a reshuffle remains to be seen.
Gigaba, who not long ago was touted as a future president of the country, must now decide on his future. While he resigned from Cabinet, he is still an MP and may decide to take up that post on the ANC parliamentary benches. DM