Last week Malusi Gigaba resigned as Minister of Home Affairs, tendering his resignation as MP shortly thereafter…
While Gigaba said it was an “honour and privilege” to serve as an MP, there were times when he didn’t always act like it, as these moments in his Parliamentary career suggest.
1. It’s all fun and mobile games
Remember when South Africa was basking in the first rays of the “new dawn” in February this year. On February 15 all eyes were on Cyril Ramaphosa, as he was elected president. Well, almost all eyes…
In the ANC frontbenches, a minister’s attention was elsewhere while opposition leaders made speeches to welcome Ramaphosa in the hot seat. That minister was Malusi Gigaba, who seemed to be preoccupied with a game on his tablet. Even while his chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, was behind the podium, Gigaba was seen playing his game. However, by the time Ramaphosa addressed the house, Gigaba put his tablet away.
News24’s photo of Gigaba playing his game went viral on Twitter.
— Jan Gerber (@gerbjan) February 15, 2018
This is not the only time Gigaba’s attention was elsewhere during a sitting of the National Assembly. One time he could be seen scrolling through Instagram on his tablet, carefully selecting an emoticon to respond to a post. Another time he tucked into a piece of biltong before he cleaned his teeth.
2. Some ‘urban poetry’ to lighten up a gloomy budget
Gigaba’s first, which was also his last, budget address was all doom and gloom – rating downgrades, recession talks and increased alcohol prices.
But don’t worry! Gigaba brought some hope by quoting “urban poet” Kendrick Lamar.
“We gon’ be right! We gonna be alright!” he said, with the appropriate rap hand gestures.
After announcing an increase in sin tax on alcohol, the then minister of finance quipped: “Eish!”
“Met eish, ja, met eish.”
It was a reference to a television advertisement.
As Our finance minister said 😭😭we gon be right , we gonna be alright “ pic.twitter.com/Rhg6HuJCPW
— Adia 🦋 (@NadiraZuri) February 25, 2018
3. Question time for what?
In March, Gigaba had a tough time explaining some members of the Gupta family’s naturalisation, only taking his foot out of his mouth long enough to shoot himself in it.
On March 7, he was due in the National Assembly to answer questions, with opposition MPs frothing at the mouth to have a go at him.
But, alas, the House wasn’t blessed with his suave presence – a day after it was revealed that Gigaba had made an error on one of the Gupta brothers’ naturalisation status.
Before the second question was asked, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen rose on a point of order and asked Speaker Baleka Mbete: “Where is Minister Gigaba?”
“We know he is in terrible difficulty at the moment,” Steenhuisen said.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh helpfully added that he had been informed at the Chief Whips Forum that all peace and security ministers would be in the House for the questions.
Mbete initially said she had not received a letter about Gigaba’s absence, as was the protocol, and shared “concern over absent ministers”.
An argument ensued, and as these things tend to go, the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Floyd Shivambu were kicked out.
Mbete then announced that she just received a letter.
“He is not feeling well,” she explained.
Groans and laughter from the opposition benches filled the House.
Steenhuisen asked if the letter had been quickly written up because Gigaba “was in a right mess”.
“I have no power over the veracity of the letter,” Mbete answered.
Gigaba was allegedly spotted on the parliamentary precinct earlier that day.
4. Social cohesion?
Eventually, Gigaba had to answer about the Guptas’ naturalisation. The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs is conducting an inquiry into the matter.
On October 10 he appeared before the committee at 22:00.
Gigaba admitted attending Diwali celebrations at the Gupta residence and the infamous wedding.
“I had no relationship with the Gupta family beyond that of acquaintances,” he elaborated.
“I have attended several functions where the Gupta family members were present in the presence of other public representatives and many other people, including at their home.”
So, why did he attend their Diwali celebrations?
It was for “social cohesion reasons”, of course.
5. 99 problems, but a pinkie ain’t one
As if court rulings that he lied, findings by the Public Protector against him and state capture connections weren’t enough, Gigaba also had to deal with a sex-video with him all by himself that reared its head.
During a question session in the National Assembly on November 6, the EFF’s Ndlozi suggested to Ramaphosa that he provide his ministers with cellphones that could take video and that couldn’t be hacked.
“You may want to start ordering it for Cabinet members, because it will save us a lot [from] some of their embarrassing activities,” he chirped.
Gigaba’s response? He raised his pinkie at Ndlozi, presumably suggesting that Ndlozi was less endowed.
The gesture did not go down well and Gigaba issued an apology on Twitter the next day.
“I apologise, unreservedly, for this gesture. The petty taunts that provoked it and the strain I have been taking over the past 10 days, are no excuse for my indiscretion,” he tweeted.
The former minister has had a colourful time in Cabinet and in Parliament.
Only time will tell what the former ANC youth league president’s next move will be.