Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba before the home affairs committee to answer questions on Fireblade Aviation. Picture:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Parliament - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says a new policy will now have to be developed to deal with the issue of operating a  VVIP terminal at OR Tambo International Airport that would possibly be operated by Fireblade Aviation. 

Gigaba said an operation of a VVIP terminal at OR Tambo would the first of its kind and discussions on it would have to include the Cabinet. 

The minister was appearing before Parliament's portfolio committee on Home Affairs on Tuesday and was facing questions regarding his approval of the private terminal operation at OR Tambo which would run by Fireblade, a company owned by the Oppenheimer family. 

There has been ongoing controversy over the "agreement" between Gigaba and the wealthy family which culminated in court action in 2016. 

The family took Gigaba to court in 2016 after he rejected their application to operate a terminal at OR Tambo. 

The family insisted that Gigaba had agreed to approve the application and was only reversing his decision after he felt pressure from the Gupta family. 

But Gigaba has denied that he had agreed. 

The Oppenheimers were in Parliament last week to give a presentation to the home affairs committee and to explain their side of the story on the matter. 

Gigaba has been branded a lair over the matter after a high court judgement, regarding the legal action between Gigaba and the Oppenheimers over the terminal, ruled that Gigaba had lied under oath over the matter. 

The minister was dealt a blow last week when the Constitutional Court dismissed his application to appeal a high court ruling on the matter. The court said the case was unlikely to succeed. 

This was the second blow for Gigaba after the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gigaba violated the Constitution and the executive ethics code when he told untruths under oath in court.

The department said it is seeking legal advice on how to enforce the Concourt judgment. 

“As we indicated in the meeting in May, there is still no policy on private VVIP terminals – this being the first one of its kind, which has been arrived at in this manner.

“There is therefore no policy. It means the policy has to now be developed so that it can provide a framework for how such issues are dealt with going forward.

“Certainly, we will be consulting with our Cabinet colleagues because the other question that arises is who [is the custodian of] is this? Airports are the responsibility of the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa), under the Department of Transport? Under whom do VVIP terminals fall?

“The Department of Home Affairs only renders a service… We may be the coordinating agency of border management services but we are only one of the services rendered at the port of entry,” Gigaba said.

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