Political parties have reacted to former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba’s long-awaited resignation, with him being labelled as a “disgraced, Gupta stooge”.

The Presidency said Gigaba’s stepping down was “for the sake of the ANC and the country”.

The EFF, which once described Gigaba as the “architect of state capture”, said in a statement that it welcomed the resignation of a “disgraced” minister.

“His stubbornness to remain in office despite the undeniable evidence against him regarding the Fireblade airport saga and his blatant disregard for the rule of law have made him a dishonourable public representative,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

The party said Gigaba did not have the interests of South Africans at heart.

“Malusi Gigaba had been a Gupta stooge who was the engine of state capture under Jacob Zuma. He ensured that the Guptas attain citizenship in South Africa, aiding them to qualify for deals with state-owned enterprises,” said Ndlozi.

SACP ‘commends’ Gigaba

Cope said it did not welcome Gigaba’s resignation.

“He should have resigned in disgrace during Jacob Zuma’s tenure as president when his involvement in the state capture project first came to light,” Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said. He added that Gigaba should not have even made it into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet when he took over in February.

“This sorry saga points to his and his party’s moral bankruptcy and the inability of Ramaphosa to take decisive decisions,” said Bloem.

The ANC’s alliance partner, the SACP, noted the development and applauded Gigaba for his decision.

“The SACP commends Gigaba for the decision, taking into account all the circumstances. In particular, the SACP welcomes the reasons he has given for resigning,” said spokesperson Alex Mashilo in a statement.

The DA lashed out at Gigaba’s statement that he fell “desperately short” as a leader. Chief whip John Steenhuisen said his resignation would not recuse him from allegations of wrongdoing.

Difficult period

“We have already laid criminal charges of perjury against Mr Gigaba and will pursue those charges to ensure justice is served.”

Steenhuisen said the DA would aim for a court to declare the appointment of Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini as ministers unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

“We are seeking an order by the court to this effect. Our legal team has approached the North Gauteng High Court on 23 October 2018, and we can confirm that the matter is set down for 11 March 2019.”

Gigaba came under fire in recent weeks after the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court upheld an earlier finding that he lied to the High Court in the Fireblade saga. The Public Protector also recommended that Ramaphosa take action against him in terms of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

The former minister was also implicated in a leaked video showing him in a sexual act.

Ramaphosa’s office also announced that Transport Minister Blade Nzimande would take over as acting home affairs minister until someone else was appointed permanently.

The EFF criticised the move, saying the president had “requested an incapacitated” minister who was “dismally failing” in his current portfolio.

“The recycling of old and tired cadres of the ANC speaks to the heart of the bankruptcy of the party and its leadership. We hope moving forward the president will find a young, fresh and incorruptible mind to lead in this role,” said Ndlozi.

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