Gigaba disputes former SAA CEO's testimony on meeting with Jet Airways

The Indian airline and the Guptas wanted SAA to close its Johannesburg to Mumbai route so that the company would operate it. Gigaba continued with his testimony at the state capture commission where he said he didn’t think he waited that long.

A screengrab of former Cabinet minister Malusi Gigaba appearing at the state capture inquiry on 31 May 2021. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - Former Minister Malusi Gigaba said that he couldn’t remember waiting for Indian airline Jet Airways for two hours even though former SAA CEO Sizakele Mzimela said that it happened.

The Indian airline and the Guptas wanted SAA to close its Johannesburg to Mumbai route so that the company would operate it.

Gigaba was continuing with his testimony at the state capture commission on Monday where he said he didn’t think he waited that long.

Mzimela told the commission how when the Jet Airways people finally arrived, they were rude and how Gigaba was silent while his advisor, Siyabonga Mahlangu, was disrespectful and berated SAA for continuing to operate the Johannesburg-Mumbai route.

Mzimela said that Mahlangu demanded that SAA should enter into an agreement with Jet Airways.

“Why didn't you stop these people quite early to say ‘You're not coming here and behaving like this. This is unacceptable. If you want to talk SAA business then we are here, but you are not going to be allowed to behave like this.’ Why didn't you do it?” commission chair Raymond Zondo asked the former minister.

And he replied: “I am not accustomed to interjecting people while they're talking to a person. And it was not my practice or way of chairing meetings. I would let you speak and then I would call you to order once you have finished.”

Gigaba said he didn’t intervene when Mahlangu was allegedly disrespectful because he believed it was robust debate.

“The facts were being put before us and that is what a chairperson would look at, not who was angry. I had sat in many meeting where even guns had been pulled before, we didn’t run away or abandon those meetings, but we continued to discuss the issues.”

Mzimela said Mahlangu later apologised to her but Gigaba maintains it is a personal opinion and some people are more sensitive than others.

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