South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will appear before the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom on Tuesday AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File

Parliament  – The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has resolved to defer the testimony to be given by Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba on the process followed by the department in naturalising the Gupta family, who are accused of having undue influence on state officials.

In a statement on Friday, the committee said for the past two days it listened to various departmental officials explain the processes they followed in processing a successive number of applications by the Gupta family.

"The committee had set aside three days to complete this work but has, unfortunately, had to extend the lifespan of the inquiry and postpone Minister Gigaba’s evidence for various reasons," said the statement issued by the Parliamentary Communications Services on Behalf of Hlomani Chauke, the chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs..

The committee said it considers it a prerequisite that it must interrogate the administrative part of the process before it can look at the political decisions made by the Executive Authority. 

It said it had not been able to complete interrogating this initial phase, hence the need to defer the following stage of the process that included Gigaba's presentation.

Former accounting authority, Mkhuseli Apleni, who is no longer in the employ of the department had requested only one day’s leave from his new employer and could not finish giving evidence on Thursday.

"The Committee resolved to call him to finish his testimony at a later stage. Apleni, as the accounting officer, was the final arbiter of the administrative part of the process thus his testimony must be concluded if the committee is to reach an informed decision at the end," said the statement.

"Also, the committee has struggled to reach Ashu Chawla, a central figure in the application process by the Gupta family. The Committee was informed by his lawyer that Chawla is in India until the end of November.  

"The Committee considers evidence from Chawla as integral in understanding the processes followed in this application. As a result, the committee has committed to continuous engagements with his lawyers to facilitate Chawla’s appearance before the committee."  

A new date has yet to be set for Gigaba to appear before the committee.

African News Agency/ANA