Gupta brothers Ajay and Atul. File photo

Johannesburg - Parliament is considering calling people who played a role in the early naturalisation of the Guptas to testify before an inquiry in the coming weeks.
This as Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs is closer to making a decision on whether to institute a full inquiry into the controversial family.

On Tuesday, the parliamentary researcher and legal services are expected to give a report to the portfolio committee on their preliminary investigation that would determine the type of inquiry.

Committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke revealed on Sunday that there were days already set aside in the coming weeks when people would be called to testify before the inquiry.

“There are two or three days we have put aside. Definitely we are getting into that process,” said Chauke.

He could not give the exact dates owing to the committee programme not being in front of him.

However, Chauke said the committee had all along been dealing with peripheral issues around the Guptas acquiring citizenship.

“We are to go deeper in fact: how many of them who are here, how they came to the country, and what kind of document did they apply for when they came to the country. That is the information we want,” he said.

Chauke also said the committee would on Thursday receive a report around the documentation the committee researcher and legal services had requested from state institutions.

“There must be paper trail of everything that has been applied for - that kind of information is what we want and then to look who were involved in the process,” he said.

In May, the committee heard that much work still needed to be done in collecting and analysing information used by the Department of Home Affairs to grant the Guptas’ citizenship.

At the time some information was still being awaited from the departments of Home Affairs, Labour and North West Education.

The placement of advertisements in newspapers calling on the public to make submissions and a trip to interview potential interviewees had not been authorised.

Chauke said it was crucial that the committee obtained the information, which included a panel being established to deal with Gupta citizenship application.

“We want to get to know who are the people who were involved and look at the way to call them to testify.

“That information is to help us as to the kind of approach we are to take. Earlier we clearly were not sure if it was to be just a general investigation of the committee or a full inquiry - where we call people to testify and all of that.”

The DA’s Haniff Hoosen said he expected all records used by the department to make the decision to be produced so the committee could make a determination.

Hoosen said his party was cautiously optimistic on the ANC’s willingness to get to the bottom of the Gupta saga.

“Although there have been attempts previously by the ANC to prevent the investigation, now we have a new chairperson and the ANC took a different approach. Let’s see how it goes,” he said.

Hoosen said that so long as there was an open and transparent process, they would support the Gupta early naturalisation probe and that they would expose any cover-up.

Political Bureau