Jonathan and Nicky Oppenheimer arrive to brief Parliament's home affairs portfolio committee regarding a private terminal at OR Tambo Airport. Picture: Chantall Presence/African News Agency (ANA).
Cape Town - Embattled Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba was again in the spotlight on Tuesday at a parliamentary hearing into the private terminal run by the Oppenheimer family at OR Tambo International Airport.

Billionaire businessman Nicky Oppenheimer and fellow director Manne Dipico pointed fingers at Gigaba for the fallout over the terminal that led to protracted litigation now at the Constitutional Court.

The duo even hinted to the parliamentarians that the minister may have lied about matters related to the saga.

Oppenheimer was the first to have a go at Gigaba, saying he reneged on granting permission to Fireblade Aviation despite doing so at a meeting at his office in January 2016.

“The first thing he said was he was delighted to tell us that he, indeed, granted his approval,” he said.

The department had not contested minutes of the meeting Fireblade sent them except for Gigaba when he denied them in court, but could not produce a record of the meeting.

“We were stunned in court when the minister said that he never gave permission.”

Oppenheimer also took a swipe at Gigaba over his previous statement to the committee alleging the internal document could have been stolen or Fireblade bribed someone to access it.

“The minister came and stood before you and undertook to tell the truth. What the minister referred to was a document in his handwriting,” he said.

Oppenheimer insisted the document was part of submission attached to affidavits by Gigaba himself. “The minister lied to this committee. I take offence to suggestions that I had somebody to steal the document.”

Dipico was equally scathing of Gigaba, saying he approved the permission for the private terminal “in his own handwriting”.

“The thing he says we stole or bribe came from his affidavit is in his own handwriting. It is unfortunate this matter continues. There is approval and he is not even appealing that.”

The Oppenheimers dismissed suggestions their terminal was the only privately-owned facility. “These comments are not true. In addition to Fireblade, other private facilities exist such as Lanseria and Mpumalanga International Airport that supply similar services.”

Political Bureau