DA wants Gigaba‚ Bathabile given the chop

05 November 2018 - 14:37 By Andisiwe Makinana
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says Cyril Ramaphosa's appointments ought to be rational and legally defensible.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says Cyril Ramaphosa's appointments ought to be rational and legally defensible.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

The DA is piling pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire embattled ministers Malusi Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini‚ saying that keeping them in the Cabinet is irrational and legally indefensible.

The DA also wants the ministers to pay legal costs from their own pockets while fighting cases brought against them and in trying to clear their names.

The courts have found both ministers to have lied under oath.

On Monday morning‚ DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the North Gauteng High had set March 11 2019‚ aside as the date to hear the DA's case that it was irrational for Ramaphosa to reappoint and retain the two ministers in his Cabinet.

“As the DA we really firmly believe if South Africa is to usher in a new dawn or a change‚ we need to ensure that we begin to clean out not only the Jacob Zuma era but members of the ANC who simply have flouted the law. Anyone who serves in high office ought to be above reproach and a servant of the people‚” he said.

Maimane said the unity of the ANC could not be at the expense of delivery to the people. He argued that while Ramaphosa exercised executive powers in terms of the Constitution when he appointed ministers to Cabinet‚ it was vital to underscore that appointments ought to be rational and legally defensible.

Maimane added that his party believed the reappointment of the ministers was fundamentally irrational and they want the court to declare Ramaphosa's decision to retain them as unlawful‚ unconstitutional and invalid. The DA is also seeking an order reviewing the decisions to reappoint them and setting it aside.

“It is irrational to appoint manifestly unsuitable persons to the Cabinet. It is equally irrational to retain such persons in Cabinet‚ especially when the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court have made the pronouncements that they have. We contend that both are therefore unfit to hold executive office and must be removed.

“Whilst there are many ministers in Cabinet who are unfit to do their jobs‚ there are legal cases that are pending against these ministers that in fact declare them unfit‚” he added.

The DA is also asking the court to direct Ramaphosa to pay the costs of its application‚ jointly and severally with any other respondent who opposes the application. Dlamini and Gigaba are the other respondents in the matter.

“This is to ensure that if either Malusi Gigaba or Bathabile Dlamini choose to adopt Zuma-esque delay tactics in opposing this application‚ they are to pay out of their own pockets. South Africans will not bear the cost of millions of rands for errant ministers’ attempts to clear their names‚” said Maimane. “In the case of Gigaba‚ we are of the view that he is severely compromised; he has been found against. It would be wrong for the South African taxpayer to finance his legal defence.”

The DA has also laid criminal charges of perjury against Gigaba‚ and wants Ramaphosa to publicly support these charges.

This after Judge Neil Tuchten of the North Gauteng High Court found that Gigaba‚ as home affairs minister‚ “deliberately told untruths under oath” and that “he committed a breach of the constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation”. This was in relation to whether Gigaba gave approval for Fireblade Aviation to operate a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane also found Gigaba to have violated the Constitution and the Executive Ethics Code in relation to the Fireblade matter. She recommended that Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Gigaba‚ who has since indicated that he intends to challenge this finding.

Maimane said his party's legal team would write to the Office of the State Attorney on Monday‚ formally asking that Gigaba’s request for the state to pay for his legal fees in this matter be rejected.

In September‚ a unanimous judgment of the Constitutional Court said Dlamini should be referred to prosecutors for lying under oath. The court directed the Director of Public Prosecutions to make a call on whether Dlamini should be prosecuted and charged for perjury for lying under oath.

The court criticised the former minister of social development for her role in the handling of the Sassa debacle and described her conduct as “reckless and grossly negligent”‚ saying she failed to disclose information before an inquiry into her role in the social grants debacle. It also found that Dlamini should be personally liable for 20% of the legal costs of the Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law application‚ including costs of two counsel.

Meanwhile the DA will be in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday where the party is fighting to review agreements between the Presidency and former president Jacob Zuma regarding legal costs incurred by Zuma for his criminal prosecution. The party filed papers in March asking that the agreement be reviewed‚ declared invalid and set aside. The matter will be heard before a full bench on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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