Not only Guptas got citizenship speeded up
Parliament - Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize has indicated that the Guptas are not the only family to have been given special treatment when they were granted early naturalisation in South Africa.
In a list sent to Parliament on Monday of people granted early naturalisation in the country, Mkhize named 22 individuals, including several Gupta family members, who were naturalised between 2012 and last year.
The naturalisation of the Guptas led to a huge public outcry and parties in Parliament called for former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba to account how processes were flouted to allow for the speeding up of the process to naturalise the family.
In the letter to the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, Mkhize confirmed that the process was undertaken by her predecessor.
“In terms of Section 5 (9) (a) of the South African Citizenship Act, 1995... as amended, I hereby submit the names of the persons who were granted early naturalisation by the previous minister of home affairs,” said Mkhize in the letter.
This was from June 2012 to February last year.
This was before Gigaba was moved to the Finance Ministry in March during a cabinet reshuffle and Mkhize was appointed in his place.
Gigaba had denied there was special treatment for the Guptas and said he had done everything by the book.
Gigaba and the Department of Home Affairs had admitted they made a mistake by not informing Parliament about the naturalisation of the family.
However, they insisted no wrong was done in granting them early naturalisation as it was allowed by the law.
In the list sent to Mbete, Mkhize confirmed that Ajay Gupta’s mother, Angoori, his wife, Shivani, and his sons, Singhala Kamal Kant and Singhala Surya Kant, were all naturalised on May 30, 2015.
However, in the list Mkhize also named former Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke, who was granted early naturalisation in 2012.
The other people given early naturalisation included investors, business leaders, an academic, a top Korean diplomat and a church leader.
The Guptas have been in the spotlight over the past few months with allegations of state capture and leaked emails implicating the family and top government officials and politicians.
The release of the list by Parliament comes as two committees in the National Assembly will begin their inquiry into state capture tomorrow.
The portfolio committee on mineral resources will have its first meeting on this following an instruction from House chairman Cedric Frolick for certain committees to probe the matter.
The portfolio committee on public enterprises will also meet tomorrow to look at what it needs to do.
The South African Council of Churches, the State Research Capacity Project and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse presented damning evidence to the committee last month implicating top officials at Eskom in state capture.
The other committees tasked to investigate the matter in Parliament include the transport committee and the portfolio committee on energy.
These committees are set to meet in the next few weeks.
The official opposition has been calling for an ad hoc committee to investigate state capture in order to have a comprehensive probe.
President Jacob Zuma has said he is surprised by the multiple investigations in Parliament and was committed to setting up a commission of inquiry.
The ANC has also said it supports the establishment of an inquiry into state capture, but that this has to be done urgently.
Some of the senior leaders in the ANC, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, have called for those implicated in state capture to come forward and clear their name.
However, they want harsh action to be taken against those found guilty of wrongdoing.