Gup­tas’ cit­i­zen­ship de­vi­a­tion ex­plained

Home Af­fairs set to ad­dress MPs on Gi­gaba’s pref­er­en­tial de­ci­sion

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS / NEWS - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

THE nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion of the Gupta fam­ily was due to take cen­tre stage to­day with the De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs’ ap­pear­ance be­fore a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to ex­plain them­selves.

This comes in the wake of EFF leader Julius Malema mak­ing pub­lic letters that showed an ap­par­ent in­ter­fer­ence by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba in the grant­ing of cit­i­zen­ship to the Gup­tas.

The letters in ques­tion showed that Gi­gaba, the then home af­fairs min­is­ter, over­ruled a se­nior of­fi­cial’s re­fusal to grant the Gupta fam­ily cit­i­zen­ship, be­cause they had not lived in the coun­try for five years.

Gi­gaba has de­fended his ac­tions, say­ing he had used the pow­ers granted to him in his pre­vi­ous post, but the EFF has threat­ened to ap­proach the courts to have the Gup­tas’ cit­i­zen­ship re­versed.

Gi­gaba has also cried foul over the mat­ter, say­ing there was a cam­paign to tar­nish his rep­u­ta­tion and at­tack his in­tegrity.

Yes­ter­day, com­mit­tee chair­per­son Lemias Mashile said the com­mit­tee wanted the de­part­ment to give the com­mit­tee de­tails about the saga.

“The mat­ter is in the pub­lic do­main. There are a lot of opin­ion-mak­ers fol­low­ing what the EFF has said,” Mashile said.

“We want the de­part­ment to give their po­si­tion on the mat­ter, so that we don’t con­tinue to mis­in­ter­pret things.

“Up to now we don’t know, and we want to un­der­stand so that we can re­spond to what is be­ing said,” he added.

Home Af­fairs di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mkuseli Apleni was ex­pected to give full de­tails at the meet­ing with the com­mit­tee.

The DA’s Han­iff Hoosen, who last week re­quested that Mashile sum­mon Gi­gaba to ac­count be­fore the com­mit­tee, said he was cau­tiously op­ti­mistic the de­part­ment would come and de­fend their for­mer po­lit­i­cal head.

In his let­ter to Mashile, Hoosen stated that he was con­cerned that the Gup­tas re­ceived pref­er­en­tial cit­i­zen­ship from Gi­gaba when they failed to qual­ify to be­come South African cit­i­zens.

“Know­ing that Min­is­ter Gi­gaba main­tains a sus­pi­ciously close re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas, their pref­er­en­tial cit­i­zen­ship must be ex­plained.

“Gi­gaba must, there­fore, be sum­moned to ap­pear be­fore the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on home af­fairs in Par­lia­ment un­der oath, in or­der to tes­tify as to his record of de­ci­sion for the Gup­tas’ pref­er­en­tial cit­i­zen­ship and his re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas,” he added.

Hoosen fur­ther said he was yet to re­ceive a re­sponse from Mashile re­gard­ing his re­quest.

“The let­ter was sent to him the same day I is­sued the me­dia state­ment. I still have to hear from the chair­man,” he said.

Hoosen also said he was hope­ful that Gi­gaba would ap­pear be­fore the com­mit­tee to an­swer ques­tions.

“If he does come, I in­tend to ques­tion him about why he did not re­port his de­ci­sion on the cit­i­zen­ship, be­cause he failed to re­port to Par­lia­ment as was re­quired,” he pointed out.

But Mashile said he could not have sum­moned Gi­gaba ac­cord­ing to the DA’s wishes.

“We don’t work like that. I’m the chair­man and I’m lead­ing the com­mit­tee,” he said.

Min­is­ter failed to re­port it to Par­lia­ment

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