Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has no right to deliver the budget speech because he lied under oath and violated the constitution, the Democratic Alliance (DA) argued in the National Assembly.
In the moments before Gigaba began his speech, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen stood up on a point of order, saying that the finance minister should not have the honour of delivering the budget speech.
“Don’t tell lies,” he said to Gigaba in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Steenhuisen said that a Pretoria high court judgement in December 2017 by a full bench had found that Gigaba, in his capacity as home affairs minister, had “…deliberately told untruths under oath” and “committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterize it as a violation”.
The judgment relates to a matter brought by Fireblade Aviation, a private company, to seek an order from the court that would force Gigaba to implement a decision he had earlier made that would allow Fireblade to manage customs and immigrations at a facility at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
The company alleged that the Gupta family had attempted to wield their influence over the operation, by trying to persuade Fireblade to sign an empowerment partner. Fireblade also alleged that the controversial family had tried to get Gigaba to withdraw the deal.
The high court made a ruling against Gigaba, saying he had failed to explain why he did not stick to his original decision to approve Fireblade to render services at the airport. The court said that Gigaba, in attempting to explain why he revoked his decision, had lied under oath.
The DA announced on Wednesday that it had a made a complaint with the Public Protector to investigate Gigaba for lying under oath and violating the Constitution.
Gigaba is currently delivering the budget speech.