Johannesburg - Malusi Gigaba said that despite his resignation as Home Affairs Minister on Tuesday - less than two weeks after the public protector found he had violated the Constitution and Executive Ethics Code by lying under oath - he will defend all "matters" that resulted from his term of office.
"Earlier today [on Tuesday], I handed in my resignation from the position of Minister of Home Affairs to President Cyril Ramaphosa. I did so after a long period of sustained and vitriolic public attacks on my integrity. I wish to state that my resignation is not an admission of guilt on my part," he said in a statement.
"The integrity and public standing of the government and the African National Congress of which I am a loyal and proud member is more important than any political office bearer. In this regard, I have filed an application for judicial review of the Public Protector's finding with respect to the Fireblade Aviation matter and also intend to defend all other matters which resulted from my term of office as a member of Cabinet."
The finding by the public protector related to Gigaba’s decision to overturn the approval for the Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation to operate a private customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
The finding came after a high court in February this year found that he had lied under oath and violated the Constitution by reneging on the approval. Just last week, Gigaba defended his actions, insisting he would not resign but has now done an about-turn.
Gigaba tendered his resignation on Tuesday, and the Presidency confirmed that he handed in his resignation letter.
"The president has accepted the minister’s resignation and expressed his appreciation for Minister’s Gigaba longstanding service to the government and people of South Africa," the Presidency said.
"Minister Gigaba indicated in his letter of resignation that he was stepping aside for the sake of our country and the movement to which he belongs. Further, to relieve the president from undue pressure and allow him to focus on improving the lives of the people of South Africa and for him to do the best he can to serve the country and save it from this economic meltdown."
Gigaba - who served as a deputy minister from 2004 and a minister from 2010 - said during this period he "sought to execute" his responsibilities to the best of his abilities.
"In all the departments to which I was deployed, I was privileged to serve with dedicated and capable colleagues and members of the civil service. Accordingly, I wish to thank the ANC and the presidents who deployed me into all the positions of trust and responsibility," he said.
"My sincere gratitude also goes to staff and directors general of all the departments I have had the privilege to lead. In particular, I wish to thank President Ramaphosa for the support and confidence he has shown in me since January this year. I wish the President and colleagues in Cabinet success in efforts to save the country from the current economic crisis and our ongoing work to improve the quality of the lives of our people."
He said he remained a "committed and disciplined" member of the ANC and would continue to execute any tasks the organisation instruct him to fulfil.
Gigaba has been severely criticised for his role in granting citizenship to members of the controversial Gupta family, who are at the centre of state capture allegations.
The minister, whose resignation comes into effect on Wednesday, also made headlines after he tweeted that he was being blackmailed after someone had hacked into his phone and leaked a sex tape meant for his wife.
All manner of jokes and ridicule were thrown at Gigaba as the leaked tape went viral and landed on porn websites.
African News Agency/ANA