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Nicky Oppenheimer & son to appear in Parly over Fireblade Aviation

Fireblade Aviation was granted permission to offer a customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport in 2016.

Nicki Oppenheimer, his son Jonathan, directors Manne Dipico and Robbie Irons take an oath before Parliament’s home affairs committee to discuss operations at the Fireblade Aviation Terminal at OR Tambo International on 30 October 2018. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Business tycoon Nicky Oppenheimer and his son Jonathan are expected to make an appearance in Parliament on Tuesday to explain how operations at their private airport terminal set it on a collision course with the Home Affairs Department.

Fireblade Aviation was granted permission to offer a customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport in 2016. But later Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba tried to back out of the agreement.

The court, however, found in the Oppenheimer's favour and Gigaba was accused of lying under oath.

Parliament's home affairs committee says it wants to know how the company has been able to operate without an agreement with the state.

The committee visited the Oppenheimer's private terminal in August after a furore over allowing the family to offer immigration services to its business aviation clients.

But Members of Parliament say that visit has left them with many unanswered questions, including the lack of a contract regulating the operation.

The committee also wants to know what impact the operation has on state coffers since it's not reflected in any of the annual performance plans of government departments rendering services at the terminal.

The committee is also due to receive a report on litigation in the matter.

Last year, the High Court in Pretoria found that Gigaba had lied under oath in trying to get out of an agreement permitting immigration services at the Fireblade terminal.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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