Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba revealed on Saturday that a private video containing sexual content has been stolen and used in attempts to blackmail and extort him. According to Gigaba, the extortion attempts have been going on since March 2017 (just as he was appointed Minister of Finance). The video was leaked on social media on Sunday.
Leaking a private sexual video without someone’s consent for whatever reason (for extortion, blackmail, revenge porn) is a form of sexual violence. While the minister has issued an apology, it’s important to be mindful that he himself is a victim, and victim-blaming is not an acceptable response to sexual violations. The minister tweeted the following on Sunday morning:
According to EWN, social-media lawyer Emma Sadleir said that the video is a violation of Gigaba’s privacy which could lead to legal prosecution. Sadleir adds that there might also be consequences for people who share the video if it was illegally obtained:
‘Every single person who shares that video is contributing to that harm and committing a separate criminal offence each time. And so I really urge every member of the public not to send it on, not to repost it and not to retweet it.’
Sharing this video would serve to perpetuate an act of sexual violation.
Gigaba has hired a private investigator to find those responsible. He has reported the matter to law enforcement and has reportedly not given in to any of the extortion and blackmail attempts. According to ENCA, the parties involved initially demanded cash and then asked ‘if he could consider paying via the issuing of contracts.’ The minister refused and has apparently been ‘presented with evidence that his computer had been subjected to surveillance by state security agencies’.