Walus‚ Krejcir‚ the Guptas ... they're all the same to me‚ says Gigaba

06 March 2018 - 17:07
By Aron Hyman
Malusi Gigaba. File photo.
Image: GETTY IMAGES Malusi Gigaba. File photo.

Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba says the department will take the same approach with Ajay Gupta as it did with Janusz Walus and Radovan Krecjir.

Gigaba told a media briefing on Tuesday that if the Guptas were convicted their citizenship would be revoked and they would serve out their sentences‚ after which they would be deported.

This was the same procedure that would be followed with Walus‚ the killer of SACP leader Chris Hani‚ and Czech crime boss Krejcir.

During a media briefing on Tuesday Gigaba said that it was too early to decide whether to withdraw permanent residency for members of the Gupta family implicated in state capture allegations.

Ajay applied for naturalisation in 2012 but it was denied because he refused to renounce his Indian citizenship‚ he said. “There has been an argument that there was a decision to favour this family; one‚ by expediting their application and appeal; two‚ by maliciously granting them South African citizenship‚” said Gigaba.

“We need to clarify that. Their application was done in 2013‚ it was rejected in 2014. They appealed‚ we considered new facts through an independent panel established in the department. Based on the documents submitted‚ the decision was overturned.”

Atul Gupta‚ Ajay’s brother‚ had never applied for citizenship‚ he said.

Gigaba and home affairs director-general Mkuseni Apleni called the meeting to address allegations that Gigaba — in his first term as home affairs minister — fast-tracked naturalisation for Ajay’s wife‚ mother and two sons in 2015.

Although the family’s application for naturalisation was rejected in 2014‚ it was eventually granted after the department took the family’s investments and “philanthropic projects” into account‚ said Gigaba.

“Mr Ajay Gupta himself had got a permanent residence in permit in 2008 and applied for naturalisation in 2013. Legally‚ he qualified for naturalisation‚ but his application was rejected‚” said Gigaba.

Applications for the rest of the family were rejected because they had not been in the country for long enough to be considered.

“They applied as a family‚ not as individuals‚ so if one family member is rejected the rest of them do not qualify‚” said Gigaba.

The family appealed and handed over supporting documents. “We looked at a number of documents ... the quantum of their investments in the country‚ the amount of people that are employed.

“In their application they indicated that they were employing more than 7‚000 people [but] when we verified their documents we found that they were employing close to 15‚000 people‚” said Gigaba.

The department had no reason to doubt the Guptas’ bona fides at the time because they owned a JSE-listed company‚ Oakbay Investments‚ and were involved in a number of “philanthropic projects”.

Some members of the family received their residency in 2003 and 2008.

If the Guptas were convicted their citizenship would be revoked and they would serve out their sentences‚ after which they would be deported‚ said Gigaba. And if India requested an extradition order‚ he would sign it.

“It would have been impossible for the officials of home affairs in 2015 to have predicted that in the future some members of this family would be subjected to investigations into crime and corruption‚” said Gigaba.