Parliament disappointed at departure of Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni

24 July 2018 - 11:56 By Bekezela Phakathi
Home Affairs' director-general Mkuseli Apleni is stepping down to join Discovery Bank.
Home Affairs' director-general Mkuseli Apleni is stepping down to join Discovery Bank.
Image: Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander

The home affairs portfolio committee in parliament has expressed disappointment at Department of Home Affairs' director-general Mkuseli Apleni's decision to step down.

“While the committee acknowledges that departure is inevitable‚ the resignation of Apleni comes at an unfortunate time. The committee is preparing to reflect on some of the department’s work‚ including the Fireblade Aviation issue and the Gupta naturalisation process‚ which the committee hoped Apleni would have assisted in resolving‚” committee chairman Hlomani Chauke said on Tuesday.

Chauke also said the committee was “disappointed that Apleni has decided to leave the [the department] while it is in a process of re-invention‚ aimed at making it a world-class institution”.

“The achievements of Apleni and his management team in stabilising an underperforming department are commendable. Some of the notable achievements include reaching over 80% of targets‚ digitising [department] processes and improving financial controls.”

Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed on Monday that Apleni had resigned to pursue other career opportunities in the private sector.

The home affairs portfolio committee has been pushing to get to the bottom of the controversial decision by the department to grant some members of the Gupta family South African citizenship. The committee agreed earlier in 2018 to institute a full-scale inquiry into the matter.

In March‚ Apleni said that of the five Guptas who applied for naturalisation‚ four - excluding Ajay - were naturalised after they fulfilled the requirement to renounce their Indian citizenship‚ given that India does not allow dual citizenship.

He said that Ajay "only holds a permanent residence permit".

This contradicted the version presented by Gigaba’s predecessor Hlengiwe Mkhize‚ who previously stated that two Gupta brothers‚ Atul and Ajay‚ were granted citizenship based on their business investments and social partnerships.

The committee also wanted answers on the Fireblade matter. The case concerned Gigaba’s decision to overturn approval for the Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation to operate a private customs and immigration service at OR Tambo international airport.

A judge found the minister to have lied to the court. He lost his appeal to a full bench of the high court‚ as well as his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal‚ and has decided to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

- BusinessLIVE