20 February 2019

South Africa: Election Fever Grips the House As Home Affairs Back-Pedals On Fireblade Terminal Saga

analysis

The agreement by Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation to operate its private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport is all above board. This was the embarrassing back-pedal by Home Affairs before MPs on Tuesday, after months of a furore that traversed the courts and the Public Protector's desk, leading ultimately to Malusi Gigaba's resignation over findings that he had 'told untruths' in the judicial proceedings. It's an episode that shows how politicking and political noise scuppers governance.

Home Affairs acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso on Tuesday outlined a series of high-level meetings since officials, and the then Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, last briefed MPs in late 2018. Gigaba's departure -- the longstanding former director-general Mkuseli Apleni departed in July 2018 after nine years at the helm -- appeared to have opened the door to a fresh approach.

These most recent meetings, on 29 November 2018, 12 December 2018 and 7 February 2019 confirmed what the courts had upheld, and what billionaire businessman Nicky Oppenheimer had told MPs in late October 2018: that alongside approvals from 27 government entities from the lease with Denel through to those with Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and port of entry co-ordinating committee and others, there...

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