PP: Gigaba had right to waive requirements in early naturalisation for Guptas

The report details how the allegation that Gigaba abused his power without proper validation of the requisite exceptional circumstances is unsubstantiated.

FILE: Malusi Gigaba on 24 January 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - A report by the Public Protector states that former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba had the right to waive requirements in the Citizenship Amendment Act when he granted Gupta family members early naturalisation.

The report, which was released on Monday morning, details how the allegation that Gigaba abused his power without proper validation of the requisite exceptional circumstances is unsubstantiated.

But it does find that there were other problems with the naturalisation.

READ MORE: Gigaba did not abuse power when granting Gupta family early naturalisation - PP

The Public Protector said while Gigaba had the discretion to grant the approval for the naturalisation of his “alleged acquaintances,” he relied on inaccurate information to do so.

The report shows that those who furnished the former minister with information for the processing of the early naturalisation application by the Gupta family included former officials DG Mkuseli Apleni, deputy DG Vusumuzi Mkhize among others.

The Public Protector states in the report that information obtained during their investigation indicates that it was only established by a Parliament ordered verification process and that there were material misrepresentations, and inaccuracies with the information contained in the motivation relied upon by the minister.

Gigaba came under fired when it became public that the Guptas were granted the documents despite not meeting the criteria, with criticism that he approved the move due to his alleged close relationship with the family members who have since fled the country.

'DEPT MUST CONSIDER ACTION AGAINST OFFICIALS'

The Public Protector said the Department of Home Affairs had to consider taking action against officials who were involved in the naturalisation of Ajay Gupta and his family members for failing to exercise due diligence.

A number of senior home affairs officials have been named in the report as being responsible for the inaccurate information that was given to Gigaba as part of the motivation for the Gupta’s application for early naturalisation, which can only take place under exceptional circumstances.

Although Gigaba was found to have breached the executive ethics code, the Parliament ethics code and Section 96 (1) of the Constitution with regard to the conduct of Cabinet members, the Public Protector said remedial action in this regard would serve no “judicious purpose” in light of the fact that he resigned as minister and member of Parliament in 2018.

However, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has been directed to take cognisance of the improprieties identified in the report and ensure the conduct is not repeated while taking appropriate corrective action.

The Public Protector recorded further remedial action with regard to the naturalisation legislation after pointing out its shortcomings in the report.

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