Editorial: Gigaba’s sword — His ethics

Malusi Gigaba the politician is no more. For those who search for his name in future, there’s a strong likelihood that the dick pic and video or endless schoolboy jokes will come up. Sex and politics go hand in glove, in a manner of speaking, and without repercussions, as recently evinced by former state security minister Bongani Bongo and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

That Gigaba’s fall from grace would be ascribed to his sex video is unfortunate, because his story is instructive of this period in the ANC’s history. Never quite a “firebrand” in the long-held tradition of the ANC’s Youth League, Gigaba was nonetheless earmarked as among the best young leaders to come out of the organisation. As crazy as it may sound now, at one point he was even touted as a future president.

The public’s disillusionment with him followed the trajectory of the ANC’s decline over the past decade: ensconcing himself in the Jacob Zuma cabal, overseeing the fast-track naturalisation of the Guptas and driving tourism away from a flailing economy are just some among his long litany of misdeeds.

The thing that stuck is insignificant, particularly when compared with the plethora of uncompromising situations he placed himself in — including that he lied about not agreeing to the Oppenheimer family opening their private Fireblade Aviation terminal at OR Tambo International. As one of the most senior ministers in Cabinet, before a full Bench of the high court in Pretoria and the Constitutional Court, he lied.

By then no one cared that the Oppenheimers had also allegedly visited Luthuli House and had been granted approval for their private terminal there as well.

Due process, good journalism, a tenacious civil society and watchful opposition parties have ensured that the likes of Gigaba are held to account. Ultimately, it was not the sex video but rather the spineless nature of the man that left him exposed.

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