South Africa's embattled home minister resigns: presidency

Tuesday November 13 2018

Malusi Gigaba

South African former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. PHOTO | REUTERS 

By AFP
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South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba resigned on Tuesday, the presidency announced, two weeks after a public standards watchdog said he had violated the constitution by lying under oath in court.

Gigaba, a close ally of ousted former president Jacob Zuma, had recently vowed not to step down after also being caught up in a leaked sex tape scandal.

A statement from President Cyril Ramaphosa's office announced that Gigaba said he had resigned "to relieve the President from undue pressure" and to allow Ramaphosa to focus on saving the country from "economic meltdown".

Gigaba, 47, was reprimanded last month by the public protector ombudswoman after he testified in a 2017 court case filed by a company controlled by the wealthy Oppenheimer family.

Ombudswoman Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended that Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against the minister for "telling an untruth under oath and before a court of law".

The allegations were probed after a complaint from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party.

The court case hinged on whether Gigaba had given the Oppenheimers approval to have a private terminal at Johannesburg airport.

Gigaba has said he was the target of extortion attempts after a private sex video was stolen by hacking.

He served as finance minister for a year under Zuma, who was ousted as president in February over mounting graft scandals.

South Africa's economy is in recession, while unemployment is at record highs of near 28 percent.

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