A FAMOUS GROUSE
IT has not been a good week for the home affairs minister.
First off, let’s just say that, as a rule, the Grouse steers clear of the contents of a chap’s trousers. Private junk, they say, is private junk — and should ideally remain as such.
But as he himself has drawn attention to it, I suppose we are duty-bound say a few words about Malusi Gigaba’s home-made porno.
Therein, alas, is the rub: had he not taken to Twitter to reveal that “a video containing material of a sexual nature” had been hacked from his mobile phone and was now circulating among “certain political figures” we would, in all probability, still be wholly unaware of Gigaba’s bold and shameless cinematic ambitions.
Most of the news reports that followed detailed the clip’s contents. Here at the Mahogany Ridge, we were rather relieved at this, for it spared us the trouble of having to find it wherever it was being tossed about on social media and make sense of it ourselves.
Besides, how would we ever be able to unsee anything like that? It would haunt us for all time…
According to Gigaba, his film — which we have drolly titled Onan the Barbarian — was only ever intended for his and his wife Nomachule’s personal use. It was, he said, filched from his mobile sometime in 2016 or 2017 and was used in a bid to extort R5-million from him shortly after he was appointed finance minister.
Gigaba, it’s been claimed, had reported the theft to the authorities and was advised by the then security minister, David Mahlobo, to hire a private detective to get to the bottom of the matter.
Unfortunately, he is so routinely dishonest that it is difficult to believe anything Gigaba says, least of all this extortion business.
Consider, as we must, that around the time the film was supposedly stolen, Gigaba’s extra-marital affair with Buhle Mkhize, a preposterously orbed person famous for posting pictures of herself on Instagram, was drawing to a long and protracted close in public.
There was, as you can imagine, a fair bit of acrimony in the parting of ways.
With characteristic reserve, the Sunday Times’s Sue de Groot reported in May last year that a “nuclear battle” had broken out between the missus and mistress and “details of how the two women fought for Malusi’s affections were dredged up and consumed with alacrity by those who thrive on gossip”.
Gigaba, De Groot noted, had “remained wisely silent” during the contretemps — which is one way we know he isn’t telling another fib — and he and his wife had “displayed their solidarity by eating sushi together in Cape Town”.
“Perhaps,” she continued, “he is filled with shame and regret, but a small part of him might well be enjoying this different role — the big man desired by two beauties. It must make a change from having to answer awkward financial questions.”
Or at least answer them truthfully. For, as his septem horribili dragged on, Gigaba chose to continue remaining wisely silent in the face of yet more accounts of his dishonesty.
On Thursday, the Constitutional Court dismissed his final bid to reverse a high court ruling that he had lied under oath in his legal battle with the Oppenheimer family.
On Tuesday, Nicky Oppenheimer claimed that Gigaba had misled Parliament by denying that he had previously allowed the family’s Firebird Aviation company to operate an immigration terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.
A day later, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gigaba had violated the constitution and executive ethics in this respect and has given Cyril Ramaphosa 20 days to advise her on what action should be taken against the minister.
Which should give Gigaba some cause for concern. He will no doubt be aware that the president has at last fired Tom Moyane, the disgraced former SA Revenue Service commissioner, and has come to no harm as a result of his decisive action.
Who knows, but Ramaphosa may even be relishing the prospect of now putting the boot into someone else. Should he go on to make a habit of such things, the president will certainly be spoilt for choice when it comes to ridding government of its rot.
According to presidency spokesman Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa has been giving the matter of Gigaba’s untruths “due and proper consideration” since February.
Even so, he probably won’t be acting with undue haste. The president, Diko told News24, will first study Mkhwebane’s report. “Then he will apply his mind.”
But we digress, and must return to the video. Various commentators, we note, have also applied their minds here. Their observations are worth noting.
There are those who believe that the film wasn’t stolen at all. Mkhize, now in full bunny boiler mode, has alluded to being in possession of such material, and has in the past allegedly threatened to release the stuff to further embarrass Gigaba.
This is according to websites run by Zimbabweans. Who, it must be said, are not enamoured in any way of the treatment they receive at the Department of Home Affairs.
They report that a mobile phone screenshot has been circulating on social media which reveals that Gigaba had apparently pleaded with Mkhize not to upload “pictures and videos” to a local porn site.
Then there are those who feel that if hackers did manage to get into Gigaba’s phone, then questions should be raised about other sensitive or classified material which may have been pinched from his mobile. As Ntokozo Miya pointed out on on TimesLive: “How much information is safe in the hands of Malusi Gigaba?”
Which is not the way we would have put it, knowing where those hands have been.
Others insist that the video is not only of a private nature, but it wasn’t even newsworthy as no state money was involved in its making.
That of course depends on the phone used by Gigaba. If it was his personal mobile, fair enough. But if an official department phone was used to capture him reaching an agreement with himself, well, it’s yet another case of an ANC politician having fun at the taxpayer’s expense.
Lastly, it’s been suggested that we should cut Gigaba some slack here. He was, as Woody Allen would say, merely having sex with someone he loves very, very much.
Failing which, console yourself with this: he was just doing to himself what he had done to Eskom, Denel, Transnet and other state-owned entities when he was the public enterprises minister.