Parliament - Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has warned those set to appear before the inquiry into naturalisation of the controversial Gupta family that hostile witnesses will not be treated with kids’ gloves.
The committee has set aside three days to deal with the long-awaited inquiry from next week Wednesday.
Committee chairperson Patrick Chauke said: “If a person is invited and doesn’t come, we will issue summons. We are going to invite the police, the police must make sure that they get those people for us. Gone are the days when Parliament summoned people and they didn’t appear.
“The Constitution is very clear on what powers Parliament has. You can’t begin to undermine those powers. I saw this in the public enterprise committee where people refused to appear before the inquiry,” said Chauke.
Among those expected to appear include Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, former DG Mkhuseli Apleni, former SA High Commission appointee in India Gideon Christians, North West Department of Education and Sports Development MEC and head of department.
The inquiry will look into investments that were allegedly cited as motivation for the granting of early naturalisation, of the Gupta family members.
These investments are said to have been made to 75 schools, including some in North West.
The committee would also look into foreign employees of Gupta-linked companies to check whether their work permits were granted legally.
Gigaba in March told journalists that none of the Gupta brothers were South African citizens. The next day the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) confirmed Atul Gupta was a registered voter, a right only citizens are entitled to.
Parliamentary legal services Siviwe Njikela said there were a number of issues that will be better explained by the people invited to appear before the inquiry.
“There are a lot of questions that the department has to answer around this. If you look at how this thing panned out, Ajay and the two sons qualified on their own. They never needed exceptional circumstances.
"But notwithstanding that, they decided to apply as unit, as a family so surely at some point they must have been fully aware that they’re not going to qualify as a family."
“That should tell you that the first priority was never naturalisation but early naturalisation. The minute you put yourself together as a unit and you know two of you do not qualify for naturalisation, it means your first price was never naturalisation. There are a lot of questions around this,” said Njikela.