Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni confirmed that Atul and Rajesh Gupta were indeed naturalised South Africa citizens but Ajay was refused. Picture: Antoine de Ras

Cape Town - A day after under fire Home Affairs Minister Malusi gave a confusing explanation over the citizenship status of the Gupta family, the department’s director-general Mkuseli Apleni was left to clear up the mess.

At hastily arranged press conference, Apleni confirmed that Atul and Rajesh Gupta were indeed naturalised South Africa citizens but their sibling Ajay was refused because he had not renounced his Indian citizenship. Ajay Gupta only holds a permanent residency of South Africa.

Apleni said Atul Gupta’s citizenship was never a subject of an internal probe by the department of home affairs because he had been granted citizenship in 2002, having arrived in South Africa in 1994. Rajesh “Tony” Gupta was naturalised in July 2006.

The Home Affairs’ D-G confirmed that both brothers appeared on the IEC’s voters’ roll as registered voters, and Atul Gupta was seen in 2016 at a voting station near the family’s sprawling Saxonwold compound.

“In order to address the Gupta family in its entirety, the department looked at all the people with the Gupta surname who are on the system. We found 39 people who are not naturalised, 13 who are naturalised, and 10 who were born in South Africa, which gives us a total of 62,” said Apleni. 

Political Bureau