Gupta Family Citizenship: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s confirmation that he granted early citizenship to members of the controversial Gupta family in 2015 is at best a blunder on his part.
And while it falls on the shoulders of the court to decide whether the decision was unlawful and invalid or not, Gigaba’s ‘kind gesture’ showed how deep he sits in the family’s pocket.
Very well, Section 5(1) of the South African Citizenship Act of 1995 states:
The Minister of Home Affairs may grant South African citizenship to any foreigner who satisfies the Minister, amongst other things, that he or she is a permanent resident who has lived in South Africa continuously for at least five years (more about this requirement later); he or she is of good character; and he or she is a citizen of a country that allows dual citizenship and if that is not allowed that he or she has renounced citizenship of their country of origin.
But the big question remains how did the Gupta family manage to ‘convince’ or better ‘satisfy’ the minister that they are of good character.
Given what we all know about the Guptas all these years, it is safe to describe them as foxy, scheming, horrible and deceitful.
The same family has since 2016 left many jaws dropping after several revelations implicated them and showed how they used their contacts and their proximity to President Jacob Zuma to wield unnecessary and outrageous influence on Zuma’s government.
They also extended their ‘courtesy’ to Zuma’s favoured son, Duduzane by pampering with a job, several cars, and a flat – they literally turned him to gold.
It might interest you to know as well that the Guptas are racists who banned black people from serving their wedding guests at Waterkloof military base in 2013.
Certainly, thorough investigations into the actions of the family and the aftermaths of their greed in the country might see them being prosecuted for corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering.
Truth be told, no government of a sovereign country would like to grant people of this kind citizenship normally. But a perceived ‘captured’ Malusi Gigaba did it in a blink of an eye.
The family’s application for citizenship was reportedly declined on 22 January 2015 because they have not lived in the country for the required five years and on May 30, the Minister reconsidered the application and granted citizenship to them.
Malusi wrote to Ajay Gupta telling him that he decided “by the virtues of the powers vested in him, under the South African Citizenship Amendments Act, to waive the residential requirements in regards to the family’s application for naturalization”.
This transaction only came to light on Monday, June 12 – two years later – when EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema posted two pictures showing how a Home Affairs official refused them citizenship and how ‘Father Christmas’ Gigaba waived the residential requirements.
In the light of the matter, Gigaba gave Parliament reasons why he took the action.
In a written response to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance’s Haniff Hoosen, Gigaba said he gave the family early citizenship of their contributions to South Africa’s economy.
The Minister said:
“The fact that Mr. Gupta and family contribute to the economy of South Africa provided substantive grounds for consideration of their application for naturalization under exceptional circumstances.”
In a bid to solidify his actions, which he insisted were within the prescripts of the law, Gigaba cited the family’s company, Oakbay Investments, which he said has interests in various sectors such as media, information technology, real estate, mining and related activities, adding that at least 7000 people are working for the family.