Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba. File picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) claimed on Monday that Malusi Gigaba granted the Guptas naturalisation illegally while he was home affairs minister.

The EFF released two letters showing Gigaba's seeming interference in granting the Guptas citizenship although their application was denied as it did not meet the requirements. The authenticity of the letters have yet to be confirmed.

"Mr. GG Hlatshwayo on behalf of the Director General correctly denied the Gupta's South African citizenship stating that they did not comply with the requirement in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the South African Act 2010. He proceeds to indicate that the Gupta's did not have 5 years of physical residence in the Republic of South Africa," the party said on Monday. Hlatswayo's letter was dated January 22, 2015. He advised the family to apply again on December 23, 2015 "provided [they] do not exceed 90 days outside South Africa for every year in the five years preceding [their] new application and comply with requirements as prescribed in Citizenship Act, Act 17 of 2010 as amended".

However, in less than a few months after the failed application, Gigaba, in a letter dated May 30, 2015 then wrote to the Guptas granting them what he termed "early naturalisation".

"I have the pleasure in informing you that by virtue of the powers vested in me under section 5 (9) (a) in terms of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act 2010, to waive the residential requirements in regards to your application for naturalisation and grant you early naturalisation," Gigaba wrote in the letter addressed to "Mr A K Gupta and Family".

The red berets said the Guptas do not qualify to be SA citizens and would challenge their citizenship in court.

"The EFF has therefore taken a decision to approach its lawyers to take the matter to court so that Gigaba's favours can be corrected and the Guptas, like all other ordinary foreigners who seek citizenship must be subjected to due process. Gigaba's decision was irrational and based on nothing else but his corrupt relationship."

Gigaba was appointed home affairs minister in 2014. He was then moved to head Treasury ministry in a late night cabinet reshuffle in March that saw Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisis Jonas fired as finance minister and deputy minister respectively.

Also read: WATCH: Malema's Dubai claims, SACP wants 'genuine' Gupta e-mails probed

Gigaba's name has popped up in the leaked #GuptaEmails that implicate him in intimate dealings with the wealthy and politically connected Gupta family. He has denied any wrong doing and questioned the credibility of the leaked emails.

Responding to these allegations was Gigaba's spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete, who said: "There's nothing illegal [about what] the minister did. So many people are naturalised sooner, including businesspeople, spokespeople and others in arts and culture.

"But in the interest of transparency, the minister has asked Home Affairs to provide clarity."

EFF leader Julius Malema's tweet: