South African minister says he was blackmail target over sex tape

JOHANNESBURG : 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". 

 "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 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 that 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.

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