Mkhize mulls Gupta cit­i­zen­ship

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­

Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Hlengiwe Mkhize says she will re­voke the Gupta fam­ily’s cit­i­zen­ship should there be con­crete proof they did any­thing wrong.

Mkhize un­der­went a bap­tism of fire soon af­ter she was ap­pointed as head of the depart­ment with al­le­ga­tions that mem­bers of the Gupta fam­ily were given pref­er­en­tial treat­ment by her pre­de­ces­sor, Malusi Gi­gaba, who is now the fi­nance min­is­ter.

This week, Mkhize de­fended Gi­gaba’s de­ci­sion to grant the fam­ily – par­tic­u­larly Atul Gupta’s mother An­goori and wife Shivani – cit­i­zen­ship in 2015, say­ing he didn’t break the law.

The fam­ily mem­bers were granted early nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion af­ter they ap­pealed a de­ci­sion re­ject­ing their ap­pli­ca­tions, which were dis­missed on the grounds that they did not meet the re­quire­ments. Any­one who ap­plies for nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion must live in the coun­try for five years and can­not be out of the coun­try for longer than 90 days.

“Leg­is­la­tion gives cat­e­gories of in­di­vid­u­als whose ap­pli­ca­tions should be re­voked. A clear cat­e­gory is when some­one is found guilty of hav­ing com­mit­ted a crim­i­nal of­fence. Should any­thing con­crete be found, there is room to re­verse the de­ci­sion,” said Mkhize.

She said it was dif­fi­cult to make a de­ci­sion based on sto­ries car­ried in the media and, un­til such time that the state cap­ture con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the Gup­tas was tested, she could not act be­cause do­ing so could open her up to a le­gal bat­tle.

“The rule of nat­u­ral jus­tice dic­tates that ev­ery­body is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty. You must get the other side of the story. Up to now, I don’t even know what their side is. What is strange is that they have not even con­tacted the depart­ment and their name is fly­ing around,” she said.

“Maybe they have learnt that, in South Africa, there is too much democ­racy. Peo­ple say what they like and no­body has to test what­ever is said, it just goes to the pa­pers ... I don’t know.”

Mkhize said her depart­ment had done all the checks on how Gi­gaba reached his de­ci­sion and noth­ing sin­is­ter was found.

Mean­while, a re­port sub­mit­ted to the chair­per­son of Par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on home af­fairs by its di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mkuseli Apleni has re­vealed that Gi­gaba broke the law by fail­ing to table the names of the af­fected fam­ily mem­bers in Par­lia­ment. Apleni said it was an omis­sion on their part.

“The depart­ment is in preparation for tabling of out­stand­ing names,” the re­port said.

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