Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s wife, Norma, has threatened urgent legal action against the Hawks if they fail to return her phones and devices, seized nearly two weeks ago as part of a criminal investigation into allegedly insulting text messages she had sent to an unidentified man, by 17:00 today.
Norma Gigaba’s lawyer has revealed in a letter to Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya that she “did not consent to the seizure and your members possessed no warrant authorising them to search and seize these items”.
The Hawks appear to have caved in to Norma Gigaba’s demand that her devices be returned to her, despite weekend media reports suggesting that the devices had been seized as part of the unit’s investigation into alleged threats made against Malusi Gigaba’s life.
Norma Gigaba’s legal team is understood to be mulling possible legal action against the Hawks over these reports.
Spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed to News24 that Norma Gigaba’s devices would be returned to her by investigators. That handover is scheduled to take place at the Brooklyn police station on Tuesday morning at 09:00.
The letter sent to Lebeya on Sunday by Norma Gigaba’s lawyer, Victor Nkhwashu, about the seizure of her devices has, however, raised further questions about the circumstances under which she was arrested and held at the Brooklyn police station for malicious damage to property and crimen injuria on Friday night.
Norma Gigaba’s heavyweight legal team, consisting of advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, on Monday confirmed in the Brooklyn office of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that they will challenge the legality and constitutionality of that arrest, as well as the Hawks’ involvement in it, in the Pretoria High Court.
The Hawks have, in the interim, sought to distance themselves from the current criminal case against Norma Gigaba. Mulaudzi confirmed to News24 on the weekend that the matter was now being dealt with by the police service.
In his letter to Lebeya, Nkhwashu states that Hawks members had descended on the Waterkloof home that Norma Gigaba shared with her husband and two young sons on 22 July and “interrogated our client, searched her house and there and then unlawfully seized her personal items”.
Those items, he said, included a “MacBook Laptop; Apple iPad; iPhone Apro 11; iPhone X; and a Huawei Phone”.
Nkhwashu states that Mpumalanga Hawks officers, “Captain Mavuso and Sergeant Ndabambi”, executed what he described as an “unlawful search and seizure” operation on Norma Gigaba’s home, “acting on the instructions and directions of Brigadier Ngwenya”.
“We pause to mention that the above seizure was conducted under the guise that our client had sent a text message to the complainant who laid a complaint of crimen injuria against our client with the abovementioned members.”
It is unclear whether the complainant in question was Malusi Gigaba or his trade unionist friend, Peterson Siyaya, who has been previously reported to have been the owner of the Mercedes Benz G Wagon Norma Gigaba has been accused of trashing.
Malusi Gigaba had been driving the vehicle at the time that it was vandalised.
The State’s indictment against Norma Gigaba alleges that the vehicle she allegedly damaged belongs to her husband.
As for the crimen injuria charges, the charge sheet states that Norma Gigaba sent an insulting SMS accusing an unnamed person of selling tenders, sleeping with older women and using her husband as a “ticket to cheating with women”.
Norma Gigaba is set to return to court to face those charges on 14 September.