REPRIEVE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba may not have to appear before Parliament to answer questions on having waived requirements in the naturalisation of the Guptas.Picture: EPA-EFE/Brenton Geach
Parliament - Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba may not have to appear before Parliament to answer questions on having waived requirements in the naturalisation of the Guptas.

On Monday, home affairs portfolio committee chairperson Lemias Mashile said there may also be no need for an in-depth inquiry into the saga.

“If he refused or claimed to have been misled, it is then we would have held an inquiry and established who was responsible for what.

“He says ‘I granted naturalisation, and here are the reasons.’ If you call him to come, he will tell you what we know,” Mashile said.

In the Gupta naturalisation saga, EFF leader Julius Malema made public letters that showed apparent interference by Gigaba in the granting of citizenship to the family.

The letters showed that Gigaba, as the then home affairs minister, overruled a senior official’s refusal to grant the family citizenship when they did not have five years' physical residence in the country.

Gigaba has defended his action, saying he used the powers granted to him in his post.

The portfolio committee has heard that the Guptas applied for naturalisation as a family of five - Ajay Gupta, his wife Shivani, his mother Angoori, and his sons, Kamal Kant Singhala and Surya Kant Singhala.

When Shivani and Angoori did not meet the requirements after they had spent more than 90 days out of the country in the five years preceding their application, the family’s entire application was turned down.

Instead of re-applying, the family made an appeal to Gigaba, citing exceptional circumstances in the form of their investments in the country, employment of 7000 employees and investment of R25million, among other things.

Asked if Gigaba would make an appearance before the committee in line with calls by the opposition, Mashile said any political party could raise any point.

“It doesn't mean that when anyone raises a particular view, it becomes a view of the committee,” Mashile said.

“A view of the committee is reached by consensus, and if reasonable consensus cannot be reached, we divide the committee.”

Mashile also said many people were pushing party interests. He added that in terms of the law, there was no dispute on the matter.

“He issued a statement that he signed the naturalisation and why he signed it, and the department confirmed it,” he said. “There is no confusion. There is nothing really.”

He said the committee had decided to not institute an inquiry.

“You institute an inquiry for a series of issues that create confusion. At the moment we don’t have a dispute,” he said. “Nobody is disputing that they (Guptas) are not naturalised,” Mashile said.

Cape Argus