‘Nul­lify Hitler as a Ger­man ci­ti­zen’

Call for SA to re­voke Gup­tas’ cit­i­zen­ship

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - LUY­OLO.MKEN­TANE

AGer­man politi­cian is de­vis­ing means to have one of his­tory’s most evil dic­ta­tors, Adolf Hitler’s Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship re­voked, al­most 62 years af­ter his death.

Hitler re­voked his Aus­trian cit­i­zen­ship in 1925, be­fore tak­ing up Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship on Fe­bru­ary 25, 1932, a de­ci­sion that would haunt Ger­many many decades later. The de­ci­sion for Hitler’s con­tro­ver­sial nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion came af­ter he was ap­pointed as a civil ser­vant in the for­mer Nazi strong­hold of Braun­schweig.

And when he was awarded his Ger­man pass­port, the mega­lo­ma­niac Nazi Party leader re­port­edly abruptly brushed off the con­grat­u­la­tions, say­ing: “You should con­grat­u­late Ger­many, not me!”.

But now a Ger­man politi­cian, Isolde Saal­mann, from the So­cial Democrats of Lower Sax­ony’s re­gional par­lia­ment, is work­ing tire­lessly to have the de­ci­sion to grant the Führer Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship re­scinded. She has ar­gued in the me­dia that hav­ing Hitler stripped of his Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship would be a “sym­bolic step”.

In South Africa, op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties such as the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF), and the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP), are call­ing for the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily – per­sonal friends of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma – to be stripped of their South African cit­i­zen­ship be­cause of their “poi­sonous na­ture”. They are ac­cused of cap­tur­ing key state in­sti­tu­tions and in­flu­enc­ing ap­point­ments of cabi­net min­is­ters. Leaked e-mails show how the Gup­tas moved money in­side and out­side South Africa, rais­ing con­cerns of money laun­der­ing.

Just like in Hitler’s case, the Gup­tas’ nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion is shrouded in con­tro­versy. Their first at­tempts at get­ting South African cit­i­zen­ship failed in 2015, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial let­ters from the De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs, that were re­leased by the EFF last month.

How­ever, in May 2015, then Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter and now Finance Min­is­ter, Malusi Gi­gaba, wrote to the busi­ness fam­ily, say­ing he had the “plea­sure” of in­form­ing them that “af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion I have de­cided to waive the re­quire­ments in re­gards to your ap­pli­ca­tion for nat­u­ral­iza­tion, and grant you early nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion”.

While De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mkhuseli Apleni has re­port­edly said Gi­gaba did not flout the law when grant­ing the Gup­tas cit­i­zen­ship, the EFF has said it would chal­lenge his de­ci­sion in the courts.

SACP sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Solly Ma­paila, who has spo­ken out against the Gup­tas, said their cit­i­zen­ship must be re­voked be­cause “of their poi­sonous na­ture”.

Speak­ing to In­de­pen­dent Me­dia, SACP spokesper­son Alex Mashilo said the party’s call for the Gup­tas’ cit­i­zen­ship to be re­voked “pre­dates the ex­po­sures on how they were nat­u­ralised”.

“The call was made in re­sponse to the du­bi­ous ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with them which (have no place) un­der our demo­cratic na­tional sovereignty. They have no re­spect what­so­ever for the hos­pi­tal­ity that South Africa granted them. The SACP is par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about their brazen ‘smash and grab’ busi­ness and wealth ac­cu­mu­la­tion.

“Our state owned en­ter­prises have been se­verely com­pro­mised as a re­sult of the cor­po­rate cap­ture as well as rent-seek­ing and ten­der cor­rup­tion. At present, the suc­cess of our call re­mains the func­tion of our strug­gle, to up­root cor­rup­tion and cor­po­rate state cap­ture in our coun­try,” said Mashilo.

Ongama Mtimka, a Nel­son Man­dela Metropoli­tan Univer­sity po­lit­i­cal science lec­turer, told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia: “The Gupta fam­ily have bro­ken their dec­la­ra­tion of al­le­giance to the repub­lic, if al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture and the contents of leaked e-mails are any­thing to go by. As such, their cit­i­zen­ship should be re­voked.”

He said the EFF was right in tak­ing the mat­ter to the courts so that “ev­i­dence show­ing due process was fol­lowed can be pre­sented and tested in court”.

“The de­ci­sion of the for­mer min­is­ter (Gi­gaba) will also be sub­ject to re­view if the ba­sis for the ap­proval was not in line with the re­quire­ments of the South African Cit­i­zen­ship Act of 1995 as amended,” said Mtimka.

EFF spokesper­son Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi did not com­ment by the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

– Mken­tane is on a twom­onth fel­low­ship with the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal­ists pro­gramme

Adolf Hitler

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