DEPUTY Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba is involved in a bitter bust up with his wife Thabong Gigaba and over the alleged kidnapping of their daughter.

On Monday night Gigaba ordered the police to arrest his wife's cousin for allegedly kidnapping their 10-year old child.

That's the word from a well-placed source who saw the detention drama unfolding at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday. Thabong's cousin, known to Sowetan as Lwazi Ngidi, was detained by police at the airport.

Three years ago, Gigaba was asked to repay the government R1 000 he spent on flowers he sent to Thabong. But the couple's flower-filled days seem to be over.

Thabong is said to be ready to visit a top Johannesburg divorce lawyer after she returns back in the country this Friday from a trip to Cuba.

According to a Sowetansource, Thabong left the couple's10-year-old daughter in the care of Ngidi, when she left the country last week.

The source says that although the couple were not officially separated, Thabong had been the sole caregiver for the couple's daughter in Cape Town. Gigaba spent his time in Johannesburg.

Thabong gave Ngidi permission to take her daughter on a holiday to East London. But Gigaba was apparently angry when he found out. He reportedly laid a charge of kidnapping against Ngidi.

The source told Sowetan that the couple had been estranged for some time. Gigaba left his wife and daughter in Cape Town without even buying groceries for them," said the source.

"Although Thabong and his daughter arrived in Johannesburg from Cape Town on July 2, Malusi did not even ask them to spend the weekend. That's why Thabong asked Ngidi to take care of their daughter while she was away in Cuba.

"If he is not even buying groceries for his own child, what guarantee would Thabong have had that he could take care of the child while she was away?" the source asked.

Sowetan understands that Ngidi and the Gigaba daughter's flight landed yesterday at 2pm. But by 5pm they were still being detained by the police.

The source heard the daughter making tearful calls to her mother in Cuba.

At 6pm last night, the 10-year-old was still at the airport being looked after by two police officers.

But later police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo said they had no record of the incident. He said he could not comment.