Nicky Oppenheimer. PICTURE: AFP
Nicky Oppenheimer. PICTURE: AFP

A meeting of parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee descended into chaos on Tuesday when members of Black First Land First (BLF) attempted to manhandle billionaire businessman Nicky Oppenheimer and his son, Jonathan.

“Shut down Fireblade … the Oppenheimers are a criminal family … they buy the ANC now they want to buy this parliament,” BLF leader Andile Mngxitama shouted.

Some members of the group approached the Oppenheimers in an apparent attempt to assault them. MPs intervened and security was eventually called in to remove the unruly BLF members.

The Oppenheimers were summoned to appear in parliament to explain how their company, Fireblade Aviation, came to operate a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport without an official agreement granting them permission to do so.

The home affairs committee is seeking clarity on the drawn-out matter between Fireblade and home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba. The case concerns Gigaba’s decision to overturn approval for the Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation to operate a private customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport.

The high court found that he had lied under oath and violated the constitution by reneging on the approval. 

Gigaba lost his appeal to a full bench of the high court‚ as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA)‚ and has decided to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.