South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba File picture: Themba Hadebe/AP
Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will take legal action against media personality Redi Tlhabi after a Twitter war between the pair in which the veteran radio host accused the minister of changing South Africa's visa regulations to suit his personal agenda.

“The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has instructed attorneys to institute legal action against Ms Redi Tlhabi for defamation of character,” Gigaba's office said in a statement on Thursday night.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday night Tlhabi t ook aim at Gigaba and said his domestic arrangements were the reason for his department's change of heart.


"Is it not true that you were livid when a cousin of your ex-wife traveled with your daughter Lerato, whilst your wife was in Cuba? Upon finding out, you laid charges of kidnapping even though you knew your ex-wife's cousin very well and your daughter was quite happy with her? 

"You had a personal issue of your ex-wife making travel arrangements with yr daughter without your consent, so you decided "I'll sort this problem out?" You implemented untested regulations, claiming to address child trafficking? Have your regulations brought child trafficking down?"

Tlhabi  accused Gigaba of ignoring expert advice and evidence against the 2014 visa requirements after he told Radio702 that the South African tourism industry had been having "pedestrian growth" and was not going to see overnight results due to repealing the draconian visa rules.

The tourism industry has lost billions in revenue since the implementation of new regulations in 2014 requiring children travelling to and from South Africa to carry an unabridged birth certificate and foreign travellers seeking to obtain visas to South Africa to apply in person and provide biometric data.




Gigaba hit back at the accusations, saying the regulations were passed before he joined Home Affairs and warning Tlhabi to lay off his daughter.

On Thursday night, responding to Gigaba's threat of a lawsuit, Tlhabi tweeted that she considered herself "warned" but had not victimised Gigaba or his daughter.

IOL and ANA