Minister Lindiwe Sisulu surprised to hear Guptas not SA citizens

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said that Ajay and Atul Gupta are not citizens.

FILE: Atul Gupta. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says that she is surprised to hear that the Gupta brothers do not have South African citizenship.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said that Ajay and Atul Gupta are not citizens.

Speaking to the Karima Brown Show on Tuesday night, Sisulu says that the brothers could be extradited back to South Africa should they be criminally charged, if a request is made to the Indian government.

"As for the whole process on whether or not they're citizens, it actually doesn't hold any water now. We have a treaty with India, whether they're Indian citizens or not, they will still have to come and answer for whatever it is that they're charged with."

The Home Affairs parliamentary portfolio committee says that it has now received an explanation from Gigaba on the naturalisation of the Gupta family and hopes to finalise the process.

Last year, Gigaba snubbed the committe after he was requested to appear before it to explain his role in the naturalisation process.

The committee's Lemias Mashile: "The committee will in due course need to consider the full range of facts and the report on verification of some of the information as presented by the department. This will result in a report with a comprehensive recommendation to the House."

LISTEN: Sisulu: SA can ask India to send Gupta brothers back

Sisulu says the Gupta brothers could be called back to South Africa to answer to a string of corruption allegations whether they are South African citizens or not.

During Tuesday's briefing Gigaba said Ajay and Atul Gupta were both denied citizenship because they refused to renounce their Indian citizenship.

However, pictures of what’s believed to be Atul's South African identity document have emerged and when verified on the IEC's website show the ID number is registered to vote at Saxonworld Primary School which is close to the controversial family's compound.

Gigaba is now being heavily criticised, with some even calling him a liar.

Speaking on the Karima Brown Show on 702 last night, Sisulu expressed surprise that the Gupta's are not citizens because they were informed that they are.

“We do have a treaty with India it will be quite easy for us to be able to ask the Indian government to allow us to have them to come and stand trial and answer to whatever thing they have been accused of in South Africa.”

Sisulu says despite this development, the brothers who find themselves at the centre of state capture allegations, can still be summoned to come back to South Africa and stand trial if charged.