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Gigaba says documents on Gupta naturalisation are genuine

The minister says he acted lawfully.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says that the documents circulated through social media on Monday with respect to the Gupta family naturalisation application are genuine.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Gigaba says he acted lawfully in terms of the Citizenship Act 1995 (Act 88 of 1995).

The finance minister was the minister of Home Affairs at the time.

The application was handled in line with the procedure that requires that the Department of Home Affairs submit recommendations to the Minister for consideration.

Gigaba says it is unfortunate that the nation's attention is focused on "spurious" sideshows when the country is facing massive economic challenges.

He also lambasts media reports that he "opened South Africa gates for the Guptas", as he says they have been permanent residents of South Africa since 2008.

“I have requested the Department of Home Affairs to provide chronological details of how all applications by the Gupta family have been handled by the Department of Home Affairs from the beginning. We have no doubt the whole process has been handled by the book in terms of our law.”

On Monday, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema released a letter from the Home Affairs Department turning down the Gupta's request for citizenship, and then a letter from Gigaba as Home Affairs Minister - waiving the residential requirements for citizenship.

The Treasury has confirmed that the letters circulate by Julius Malema are genuine. It goes on to say that this process was not unusual and that similar courtesies have also been extended to executives of multinational companies and sports people.

Immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg says Gigaba’s letter granting the Guptas citizenship doesn’t explain why he made the decision.

“It begs the question what are these exceptional circumstances that justify the minister overturning the decision of the Department of Home Affairs to decline to grant citizenship to the Gupta family.”

The Treasury says Gigaba has now asked the Home Affairs director general to make the motivation behind this decision public.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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