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Mkuseli Apleni clarifies confusion over naturalisation of Gupta family

Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni says the issue regarding the Guptas' naturalisation process discussed in Parliament only dealt with Ajay.

Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni addressing the media on the naturalisation of the Gupta family. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department has clarified that Atul Gupta is, in fact, a South African citizen but insists that the request for naturalisation happened before Malusi Gigaba was a minister.

On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Gigaba held a briefing where he insisted neither Atul nor Ajay Gupta held citizenship in this country.

“Mr Ajay and Atul Gupta are not South African Citizens. He is a permanent resident permit holder which he received in 2008. Mr Atul was not one of the five Gupta family members who had applied for citizenship.”

There’s been a great deal of confusion about which members of the Gupta family have been naturalised and whether Ajay, who’s being sought by the Hawks, is a citizen.

The department says Ajay is a permanent resident but his two brothers Atul and Rajesh were naturalised several years ago.

Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni says the issue regarding the Gupta’s naturalisation process discussed in Parliament only dealt with Ajay.

WATCH: Apleni clarifies Guptas citizenship

Ajay had applied for naturalisation, along with his four family members, his wife, mother and two sons.

Apleni explains that only Ajay’s family members were granted early naturalisation in May 2015.

“The reason that Ajay Gupta was not naturalised is that he did not renounce his Indian citizenship. Therefore, he remains not a citizen of South Africa. He only holds a permanent residence permit.”

Ajay decided not to renounce his Indian citizenship and because India doesn’t allow dual citizenship he remains a permanent resident of South Africa, but not a citizen.

Apleni says the situation is different for Ajay’s two brothers.

However, Apleni insists Minister Malusi Gigaba did not deal with Atul or Rajesh’s citizenship as he wasn’t a minister at the time.

Meanwhile, two Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs have been ejected from the National Assembly for calling Gigaba a “pathological liar”.

Gigaba is conspicuous by his absence in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, where he was meant to answer questions.

Gigaba sent an unsigned sick note to explain his no-show, saying he’s not feeling well.

But the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says they have all the explanation they need.

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “Gigaba has actually given a reason for his absence today because he goes around lying to South Africans. We’re dealing with a liar, a pathological liar.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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