S. African minister says he was blackmail target over sex tape

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has said he was the target of extortion attempts after a private sex video was stolen following a hacking incident.

Gigaba said in tweets posted Sunday that he took the unprecedented step of addressing the video because it was circulating in “political circles”, while his spokesman accused an opposition politician of orchestrating its leak.

“(It) was stolen when my communication got illegally intercepted/my phone got hacked, in 2016/17,” wrote Gigaba in tweets, the source of which were confirmed to AFP by his spokesman Vuyo Mkhize.

“This video has been at the centre of a number of blackmail and extortion attempts, dating back to the period immediately following my appointment as Minister of Finance, on 31 March 2017, all of which I have steadfastly refused to entertain,” Gigaba wrote.

Mkhize tweeted on Monday that the video was leaked by “an opposition leader who obtained it from an MP of his party” — but did not say who or give any evidence for the claim which was subsequently retweeted by Gigaba.

Gigaba was propelled from a more junior ministerial role to the post of finance minister last year. He took over the home affairs ministry in February 2018.

Gigaba said he had reported the case to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“I take this opportunity to publicly apologise, in advance, to the rest of my family — especially my kids, my mom and my in-laws — and the South African public for the pain and embarrassment the likely wider distribution of this private material will cause,” he added.

Gigaba described the leak as “gross invasion of privacy”, stressing a “clear absence of a public interest justification” in distributing the clip, which has been widely circulated on social media. (AFP)