Embattled former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba may have to foot his own legal bill for his challenge against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s damning report that he lied under oath.
On Thursday, Gigaba resigned as member of Parliament, just as National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete referred Mkhwebane’s report to Parliament’s ethics committee for investigation.
On Tuesday, when resigning as a Cabinet minister, Gigaba said he would take Mkhwebane’s report on judicial review.
On Thursday, home affairs said there was no precedent for payment of legal costs of a former minister.
Department’s spokesperson Thabo Mokgola referred questions on costs to Gigaba
You will have to check with him. It’s him who said he will take the report on judicial review.
“We can’t comment on this matter because he is a former minister,” Mokgola said.
Asked what happens when an ex-minister pursues legal action on matters that arose from his former portfolio, Mokgola said he did not recall a precedent on the matter.
“I don’t recall a precedent in this regard where a former minister is embarking on judicial review and the department pays or does not, hence I am saying it would be better if you were to get in contact with him,” Mokgola said.
Gigaba may have escaped disciplinary action in Parliament, but may have to answer questions arising from the inquiry into the Gupta naturalisation.
Home Affairs portfolio committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke said the former minister may be called to appear before the inquiry.
“Parliament can call him if there is anything he has to clarify,” Chauke said on Thursday.
Gigaba quit as an MP as Parliament was starting a process that would have led to him being hauled before the joint committee on ethics and member’s interest.
This has been viewed in some quarters as a move similar to that of former higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana, who quit hours before his appearance before the committee.
Gigaba’s woes worsened after Mkhwebane found he had violated the Constitution and the Executive Ethics Code and ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to take “appropriate disciplinary action” against him.
Mkhwebane gave Ramaphosa 14 days to submit her report to Parliament with a report on any action he has taken.
Ramaphosa sent his letter and Mkhwebane’s report to Mbete on Tuesday, the same day Gigaba resigned from Cabinet.
“This letter also serves to inform the National Assembly that Mr Gigaba resigned as minister of home affairs and that I have accepted his resignation,” he wrote.
Upon receiving the letter, Mbete referred it to the joint committee on ethics and member’s interests for consideration.
The ANC confirmed his resignation, saying it was with effect from Tuesday and also issued a statement containing his comment.
“It was indeed my honour and privilege to have been of service to our people in this high office. I am also grateful that my organisation afforded me this honour,” Gigaba said.
Neither Gigaba nor his personal spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize could be reached for comment.
But DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said Gigaba’s 11th-hour resignation resembled that of Manana who avoided the joint committee on ethics and member’s interests.
“Yet again a senior member of the ANC has avoided accountability by resigning once the writing was clearly on the wall,” Steenhuisen said.