Suspended home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni. Picture: ANA
Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize has been given until next week to brief parliamentarians about the suspension of her director-general, Mkuseli Apleni.

This comes after the home affairs portfolio committee heard on Tuesday that Mkhize and her deputy, Fatima Chohan, were on official business in Switzerland.

Briefing their meeting, committee chairperson Lemias Mashile said Mkhize and Chohan were attending the executive committee session of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which started on Monday and ends tomorrow.

“We have tried to communicate with the minister to find time for the committee.

Read: Apleni case postponed due to 'complexity'

"Next week they are available, so we hope to get a little bit of clarity on the suspension of the director-general,” Mashile said.

“It is a matter of high importance. The minister is here next week to come and explain to us, as the committee. This is a matter we hope will be dealt with,” he said.

Apleni was placed on precautionary suspension by Mkhize about two weeks ago, but is challenging the matter in court.

Mashile also reported to the meeting that the EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlophe had written to him asking that Mkhize and Apleni be invited to their meeting.

“For now the director-general is on suspension. The matter will definitely come and be explained,” Mashile added.

But Hlophe took him to task for not responding in writing to her letter. She also said it was important Mkhize explained herself on the suspension of Mkhize, which was reported in the media.

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“We feel this matter is important. We can’t go forward without knowing what is going on in the department,” Hlophe said.

Mashile accepted that he did not acknowledge receipt of Hlophe’s letter, but he could not make a decision on inviting Mkhize and Apleni.

“The letter must come to committee, and for others to speak to it and then resolve. I must simply bring it here. That is your motion to the committee,” he said.

The ANC’s Donald Gumede said they welcomed the arrangement for Mkhize to come to explain the suspension of Apleni next week. “We are satisfied with that response,” he said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is not yet off the hook on the naturalisation of the Gupta family he approved while he was the political head of the Home Affairs Department.

The DA’s Haniff Hoosen brought up the matter and demanded answers when Gigaba would tell his side of the story to the committee.

Read more: Mkhize suspends Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni

Mashile said there was still outstanding documentation to be received from the department.

He assured Hoosen that information would have to be collected from the department first.

But Hoosen accused him of delaying the probe into the Gupta naturalisation. “You try to delay in hope that people will forget. You are preventing that from happening,” he said in reference to the Gupta naturalisation.

Mashile insisted that the matter was not closed. He pleaded that the department be quizzed about the outstanding documents. “Rest assured we will pursue the department and get that information,” he said.

Political Bureau