Gigaba says not implicated in leaked documents

Former minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Gallo Images

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday he would not be implicated in documents leaked to the media that allegedly expose influence-peddling in government.

Gigaba said allegations he was involved in anything untoward were “made to impugn my integrity and is meant to divert us from the work of transformation and growing the economy” adding that he had “done no wrong”.

Some South African media reported on Thursday they had access to over 100,000 leaked documents and emails that showed improper dealings in lucrative government contracts by business friends of President Jacob Zuma.

According to another report by EWN, Gigaba said he welcomed the opportunity to address the allegations against him at a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

“We should be allowed an opportunity, instead of answering to anecdote, to seat with that commission and provide answers to the allegations that have been raised. One is quite aware that the allegations are going to continue, so the Commission of Enquiry will assist us,” Gigaba said.

During a media briefing in Pretoria, Gigaba said the he was hoping to clear his name when a commission of inquiry into state capture is established.

“I’m quite glad that there is a commission of inquiry that will look at all these allegations, including all others, because there are many other allegations with regards to other issues… that the commission will look at. I think we should be allowed an opportunity, instead of answering to anecdotes, to sit before that commission and to provide answers to the allegations that have been made,” said Gigaba.

“One is quite aware that the allegations are going to continue being made, and so a commission of inquiry will assist us in that regard. There are many other issues. Some people believe that I have signed the nuclear deal at Treasury. They believe I signed that deal even on the first day of my arrival. Even when I, and the minister of energy say there is no nuclear deal signed, some people continue making the allegations.”

Gigaba said the plethora of allegations circulating around him were meant to damage his reputation, and to halt the efforts to transform the South African economy.

“It is [meant] to impugn integrity. It is meant to divert us from the work of transformation and growing the economy. We are going to remain focused on that task and I think we should be allowed to sit in front of that commission of inquiry and answer to the allegations that have been made,” said Gigaba – the former public enterprises and home affairs departments minister.

Gigaba on Friday faced questions on Rajesh Naithani, an Indian national with close links to the Guptas – with no traceable expertise in the aviation industry – was appointed a board member at the South African national carrier, South African Airways. This happened while Gigaba was public enterprises minister. Naithani was later shifted to the state-owned SA Express board.

In the leaked trove of e-mails, Naithani, a molecular biologist, is fingered as a spy who spent his time updating Tony Gupta about affairs happening inside the airline.

Gigaba said when it was discovered that Naithani had no airline expertise, he was removed from the SAA board.

“The issue of board appointments, you may not know, what public enterprises [department] did and still do, is to formulate a template of the skills metrics required by each board. They then look at who are the people who possesses the skills that are required to satisfy and fulfill that metrics. That process takes places long before the matter is brought to the minister – including the identification of the names. There is no board member who has a permanent role in any state company,” said Gigaba.

“That is why with regards to the gentleman [Naithani] who served in the board of SAA, when we realised that the skills he possessed were not commensurate with the skills we wanted, we then removed him from the board and left that position vacant saying we would still look for another board member from the BRICS countries, with international aviation experience. For us at the the strategic decision was that SAA needed to begin flying to the BRICS countries. We were looking at any person with the requisite skills and when we realised that the gentleman didn’t have the skills, he was removed from the board.”

Additional reporting by Reuters and African News Agency (ANA)

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http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/1531851/govt-must-investigate-veracity-guptaleaks-anc/

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