OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA
OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA

The Oppenheimers have won their court battle to operate a private international terminal at OR Tambo airport after accusing Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba of reversing his approval following pressure from the Guptas.

The judgment delivered on Friday in the High Court in Pretoria deals a significant blow to Gigaba’s attempt to portray his about-face as motivated purely by public interest.

Oppenheimer aviation company Fireblade argued Gigaba, who at the time was home affairs minister, had approved its application at a meeting in January 2016 and should not be allowed to change his mind without good reason.

Judge Sulet Potterill agreed, saying Gigaba’s approval "is of force and effect and may not be renounced or revoked without due cause and may be implemented and relied on by the applicant". She granted a costs order in favour of Fireblade, which means taxpayers will foot the bill for the decision by Gigaba, Denel and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to oppose the application.

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