The Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has confirmed that the documents circulated through social media on Monday with respect to the Gupta family naturalisation application are genuine and he knows about them.
Minister Gigaba reportedly granted the Gupta family naturalisation while he was Home Affairs Minister.
“The Minister lawfully approved the application in terms of South African Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act 88 of 1995) that was amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010).
“The Act vests the authority on the Minister of Home Affairs to grant a certificate of naturalisation as a South African citizen to any alien who satisfies requirements for naturalisation,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Tuesday.
The application was handled in line with the procedure that requires that the Department of Home Affairs submits recommendations to the Minister for consideration.
The Ministry said the granting of naturalisation certificates of this nature is not unusual.
“Similar courtesies have been extended to prominent businessmen, including executives of multi-nationals, and sports people. There is no impropriety on the part of the Minister in relation to how the application in question has been handled.
“It is, therefore, unfortunate that the focus of the nation is diverted towards spurious sideshows when the country is faced with massive economic challenges,” the Ministry said.
The Minister calls on all sectors of South African society to channel their energies on the urgent priority of boosting economic growth and rebuilding confidence in the economy following the credit-rating downgrades.
The sensational nature of the media reports on this issue has been unfair. Headlines saying “Gigaba opened SA gates for Guptas” and “Gigaba bombshell over Guptas’ citizenship” paid no consideration to accuracy.
It is not true that Minister Gigaba “opened the gates” for the Gupta family; the Gupta family has been permanent residents in South Africa since 2008.
Furthermore, there is no “bombshell” in relation to this matter, given that everything was done within the prescripts of the law.
In the interest of transparency, Minister Gigaba has requested the Department of Home Affairs to make the motivation pertaining to this particular application, and any other issue relating to the Gupta family, available to the media.
“I have requested the Department of Home Affairs to provide chronological details of how all applications by the Gupta family have been handled by the Department of Home Affairs from the beginning.
“We have no doubt that the whole process has been handled by the book in terms of our laws,” said Minister Gigaba.