- Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba is suing author and media personality Redi Tlhabi for deformation after the author refused to apologise for a series of tweets
- Gigaba and Tlhabi have been engaged in a dramatic and at times ugly social media war of words
- Tlhabi accused Gigaba of allowing personal feelings to influence his policy decisions
The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that minister Malusi Gigaba has started legal proceedings against the respected author and media personality Redi Tlhabi. Gigaba is suing Tlhabi for defamation after she refused to apologise for a series of tweets.
Gigaba and Tlhabi have been engaged in a dramatic and at times ugly war of words on social media in recent days. The spat culminated in a series of tweets in which Tlhabi accuses Gigaba of allowing personal feelings to influence his policy decisions with regards to children’s travel restrictions.
On Wednesday, Gigaba demanded that Tlhabi apologise and retract a tweet in which she accused Gigaba of changing travel regulations with children because of a vested personal interest in the matter.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Tlhabi refused to apologise or retract her tweets which led to Gigaba instructing his legal representative to start the legal process.
Businesslive.co.za reported that Tlhabi claimed Gigaba had amended the visa regulations related to children and minors travelling with adults because he was incensed by a family incident in which a relative of his ex-wife took his child on holiday without Gigaba’s permission.
Whether or not this accusation is true or false the fact is that Gigaba amended the travel policy for minors recently. One of the new requirements is that written consent is required from a child’s parents when that child travels without their parents.
This change is in addition to an unabridged birth certificate needing to be presented in conjunction with the child’s passport.
Gigaba announced that travel restriction would be eased in order to boost tourism which had dropped in part due to harsh requirements which were originally aimed at curbing child trafficking.
Tlhabi questioned whether Gigaba’s travel policy had been successful in its stated aim of lowering child trafficking. She claimed the policy was aimed squarely at the minister’s ex-wife.
Gigaba has since published documents which prove the original policy was approved in 2014 before he was appointed to the position of home affairs minister. Gigaba said he had simply implemented an approved policy and had no part in its makeup.
The policy in question has been blamed for a dramatic drop in international tourism as foreign and local tourist struggled to comply with the near draconian requirements for travelling with a child.
Tourism experts said the industry had lost countless billions in direct income which led to job losses and a diminishing of South Africa’s reputation as a tourist destination.
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