Travelgate tensions

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The spat between DA and ANC MPs over the Travelgate saga has intensified with DA MP Douglas Gibson denying he lied to parliament about the involvement of two cabinet ministers in the debacle.

Gibson said in parliament last week that all MPs should explain their involvement in the multimillion-rand fraud.

He said that two cabinet ministers "who were married to each other" - a reference to Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her husband Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula - had to pay back R300000 to liquidators of the travel agents.

Gibson was speaking in the debate on President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation Address and accused the ruling party of not being serious about corruption because ANC MPs found guilty of fraud were still present in the chamber.

Mapisa-Nqakula has denied any criminal wrongdoing and accused Gibson of lying to parliament about her involvement.

Yesterday Gibson said: "I find it amazing that the minister overlooked the fact that I asked parliament to create for every MP who has had to pay the liquidators - and there are some 200 of them - an opportunity to explain.

"It may well be that the minister and her husband are not guilty of any crime and I did not state that they were."

Gibson called on the two to explain whether they did pay back R300000; and how the alleged debt was incurred.

Instead of "accusing me of telling lies and kicking up dust", the ministers must recognise that as public figures "they owe a duty of transparency and accountability to the public", Gibson said.

"Give us an explanation and their names will be cleared. Many MPs may be innocent but some of them are not."