Former Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba has refuted claims by former South African Airways (SAA)  board chairperson Cheryl Carolus that there was hostility between them and it made it difficult for the national airline to function.

His testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was marred with denials of all of the evidence before Zondo about his role as the Minister within the State-Owned Entities like Eskom and Transnet.

Gigaba insists that during his tenure as the minister, all things happened within the confines of the Public Management Act, especially when it came to potential investors into Eskom, SAA, and Transnet.

However, former SAA Chairperson, Cheryl Carolus says during her tenure at the national airline, it was difficult to work with Gigaba. During her testimony before the State Capture Commission, Carolus said Gigaba made it unpleasant to work with him and this saw about 12 board members resign from SAA in 2011.

But Gigaba says all he did was to make sure that there was a rotational approach when it came to appointing board members.

“We were suddenly confronted in the early morning with the resignation of 12 board members, subsequent to the leak and we had to act immediately too and announce the appointment of the new board. I think we had to do that prior to the scheduled AGM, because of the unexpected sudden resignation of an existing board. But I want to assure the chairperson, there no hostility towards that board on my part.”

Gigaba has also denied that during his tenure he had an “informal way” of appointing board members for state-owned entities. This in contradiction with the evidence from Siyabonga Mahlangu, his special advisor, that, Gigaba would randomly appoint board members and give directions to entities such as Eskom and Transnet on how work should be done.

“There were instances where board members would have served for periods of seven years and eight nine and even more. And the decision taken during my tenure, officially, was that no member of the board would serve at most for longer than two terms or three of each. So, we regularised that each board member would serve for three terms. At most, you will receive a three-year term, which means it’s six years.”

Former Minister Malusi Gigaba gives testimony at the State Capture Commission:

Relationship with Guptas

Gigaba also told the Commission that he had “a social and cultural” relationship with the Gupta family when he was in cabinet, adding that he knew the Guptas and had been to their Saxonwold compound in Johannesburg.

“A relationship could be anything from business to anything and my sense was that’s what they were asking. And that’s why I have explained in this Commission my social and other relationship with them.”

The former cabinet minister says as far as he is concerned, his track record shows that he has done his work with due diligence across all government department he has ever been a minister for. He will be back before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday this week.