A report in Sunday Times alleges that a letter was written by a top ANC official in 2015 to the wealthy Oppenheimer family saying they would be given permission to have a private international airport terminal at OR Tambo.
The matter of the luxury terminal for travellers with private jets has been highly contested over the past few months after Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba first gave permission to the Oppenheimers’ Fireblade Aviation to go ahead with the terminal but then changed his mind.
In response, Fireblade took Gigaba to court in 2016 and he was subsequently found by the high court to have lied about the case under oath. He was denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
Many have speculated that Gigaba changed his mind because the Gupta family was trying to take control of the terminal. Gigaba has denied this and insists that he merely has concerns about a private family being able to operate a port of entry.
He reportedly refused to comment on the letter.
The letter from the ANC to Nicky Oppenheimer reportedly came from ANC general manager Ignatius Jacobs – who left the position last year following a scandal about the ANC’s R50 million war room against opposition parties.
In the letter he reportedly writes that he can confirm that the “regulatory authority” will approve and issue the “relevant certificate” to Fireblade.
Jacobs confirmed to the Sunday Times that he had written the letter but denied there was anything untoward about it.
The paper speculated that the ANC’s direct involvement in a government matter was linked to possible funding from the Oppenheimers.
New legislation will soon allow the public access to where political parties get their funding, but this has been strictly private information until now.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte told the paper she was “unaware” of funding from the Oppenheimers, who reportedly did not respond to requests for comment.
The paper could also not get a quote from ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.