Apleni: Atul Gupta’s naturalisation happened before Gigaba’s appointment

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

FILE: Controversial businessman Atul Gupta of the Gupta family. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says Atul Gupta's naturalisation was dealt with before Minister Malusi Gigaba's tenure.

Gigaba issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that he mistakenly said that Atul was not a citizen during Wednesday's briefing when he was dealing with Ajay Gupta's naturalisation.

Ajay applied for citizenship, along with four family members whose applications were approved in May 2015.

However, his was rejected on the basis that he refused to renounce his Indian citizenship and therefore only holds a permanent residence permit here in South Africa.

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

“So, all the time we were in Parliament, we were dealing with the five members. He was naturalised before the tenure of Minister Malusi Gigaba at Home Affairs.

“Therefore, Minister Gigaba never dealt with the granting of citizenship to Atul Gupta, who was naturalised on November 2002 having satisfied ordinary citizenship requirement for naturalisation. He arrived in South Africa in 1994.”

On Tuesday, 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 that Ajay is a permanent resident but his two brothers, Atul and Rajesh, were naturalised several years ago.

WATCH: Apleni clarifies Guptas citizenship

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

Gigaba was 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 that he was not feeling well.

But the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said 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 Leeto M Khoza)