Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs has found that the controversial Gupta family and their associate, Ashu Chawla, gave fraudulent information to expedite the process of their naturalisation.

The committee was tasked with conducting an investigation into the early naturalisation of Ajay Gupta, his wife Shivani, mother Angoori, and sons Kamal Kant Singhala and Surya Kant Singhala.

On Monday the committee found that former minister Malusi Gigaba was “incorrect” in granting early naturalisation to the Gupta family.

It recommended criminal charges against the members of the family and Chawla, and the revoking of their citizenship.

In terms of social investment to support their application for early naturalisation, 76 schools in the North West Province were said to have received donations.

“Supporting documentation submitted to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) related to Mr Ajay Gupta’s early naturalisation application included the social responsibility donations to schools in the North West province. Evidence from schools suggests that in some instances the donations may have been overstated or incorrect,” the report noted.

The Parliament Research Unit attempted to gather evidence of this having occurred in the absence of it being done by the DHA.

The school principals were contacted by telephone, as this represented a significantly smaller number of respondents.

The committee’s report, which is expected to be tabled before the National Assembly for consideration and adoption this week, recommended that the matter be brought before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The report also found that Chawla wielded sufficient influence within the DHA to, among other things, receive preferential treatment such as expedited and incorrect visa approvals.

Gigaba, who could not be reached for comment, had previously told ­Parliament that his relationship with the family did not influence their early naturalisation.

The DA on Monday accused the ANC of protecting Gigaba, in that having found he was wrong in his action, no sanctions were recommended against him. DA MP Haniff Hoosen said the ANC members in the committee were whitewashing Gigaba’s role in the “unlawful approval” of the Gupta naturalisation.

“The ANC members have made every effort to lay the blame solely on DHA officials for the irregularities in the processing of the application, while absolving Gigaba of wrong- doing.

“This is despite the fact that the application was initially correctly rejected by officials and only approved on the submission of a further application on the grounds of ‘exceptional circumstances’ to the minister,” said Hoosen.

Hlomane Chauke, chairperson of the committee, said: “We are not surprised the DA made such comments when they were part of the meeting that agreed to the recommendations.

“The minister agreed that proper diligence was not done on the naturalisation. He confessed in the inquiry. I don’t agree with the DA that we are being soft on him.”

Political Bureau