28 March 2018 – News24
Parliament is pushing to get to the bottom of the controversial decision by the Department of Home Affairs to grant some members of the Gupta family South African citizenship.
The home affairs portfolio committee agreed on Tuesday to institute a full-scale inquiry into the matter. DA MP Haniff Hoosen had earlier presented to other members of the committee documents suggesting that more than five members of the Gupta family had been naturalised, which contradicted statements by the department.
In March, home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said that of the five Guptas who applied for naturalisation‚ four members of the family‚ excluding Ajay Gupta‚ were naturalised after they fulfilled the requirement to renounce their Indian citizenship, given that India does not allow dual citizenship.
He said that Ajay “only holds a permanent residence permit”.
This contradicted the version presented by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba’s predecessor, Hlengiwe Mkhize‚ who previously stated that two Gupta brothers‚ Atul and Ajay‚ were granted citizenship based on their business investments and social partnerships. “The consideration to grant citizenship to the family was based on the business investments and social partnerships as highlighted in the Oakbay company letter,” Mkhize said in Parliament late in 2017.
MPs across the national political spectrum agreed that the matter needed to be interrogated further and to call department officials and Gigaba to account.
The process was likely to begin soon after Parliament’s Easter recess.
ANC MP Maesela Kekana said the committee needed to move swiftly to get to the bottom of the processes followed in granting the Guptas early naturalisation. “I have read the documents and I think there is a case to answer … this is a matter of public interest,” he said.
Hoosen said the DA had revealed that several more members of the Gupta family were granted citizenship.
“This information was never revealed or reported to Parliament, as is required by law.
“In addition to this, minister Gigaba and his department only explained the circumstances surrounding the naturalisation of five Gupta family members, when there was in fact a further six members of the Gupta family that are South African citizens and registered as voters on the IEC database. But attempts by opposition parties to get the ball rolling on an inquiry were frustrated by the former chairman of the portfolio committee, Mr [Lemias] Mashile,” said Hoosen.