Minister denies approval of exclusive port of entry

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has denied newspaper reports that he approved the Oppenheimer family’s application for them to have their own exclusive port of entry, to be situated at OR Tambo International Airport.

I wish to state categorically that at no stage have I ever approved such application as alleged by the family.

What actually transpired was that indeed a meeting between myself, some of my department’s senior management and Mr Nicky Oppenheimer, accompanied by, among others, Mr Robbie Irons, was held on 28 January 2016, at their precinct at OR Tambo International Airport, Minister Gigaba said in a statement on Friday.

According to the Minister, the purpose of the meeting was to afford the family an opportunity to present its proposal to him to consider it after having consulted with all affected stakeholders.

Minister Gigaba said he has never shied away from engaging with various stakeholders, on any particular matter, as it is the responsibility of public servants within measure to be accessible to a variety of stakeholders.

I have noted from the newspaper article as well as the court application that the family produced a document (single page, not signed by anyone) which purports to be minutes of the meeting in which I allegedly approved their proposal.

Of significance is the fact that these so-called minutes were not adopted as is normal or standard process in formal meetings which process would have accorded authenticity to such minutes. I therefore, have the right to dispute the contents of such a document, Minister Gigaba said.

He said the family’s request would not satisfy the test of rationality. He also considered the application exclusionary.

Furthermore, my view is that it is an improper use of public power to seek to privilege a private concern without an adequate benefit at large.

He said if he were to accede to the family’s request, he would probably be acting unconstitutionally and in breach of the Immigration Act No. 13 of 2002.

Extensive reasons and further response to the family’s accusations will be outlined elaborately in my answering affidavits to both the court application launched by the family to review my decision.

The matter is a subject of litigation, on which the courts should be afforded the opportunity as well as the decorum to decide, said Minister Gigaba.

Source: South African Government News Agency