Malusi Gigaba lied about Gupta citizenship, Public Protector finds
UPDATE: Following the release of the damning report on Malusi Gigaba, the office of the Public Protector has indicated that it had committed an error in its findings. According to acting Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, the former Minishter of Home Affairs DID NOT abuse his powers in granting the Guptas early naturalisation.
“There is a huge factual error on one of our summaries, which differes materially from the report. The Public Protector DID NOT find there was abuse of power on Malusi Gigaba’s part. He did, however, breach the Parliamentary Ethics Code by failing to name the Guptas as beneficiaries. We apologise for the inconvenience caused by the incorrect summary.”
Former Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba abused his powers and granted the Gupta family early naturalisation without following protocols, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane concluded in her investigation.
Public Protector finds Malusi Gigaba guilty of impropriety
Every year, the minister of home affairs must, 14 days after the commencement of Parliament, table the names of persons granted South African citizenship “under exceptional circumstances…”
This is a mandatory practice that is enforced by the South African Citizenship Act. Towards the end of his tenure, Gigaba was hit with allegations of impropriety when it was alleged that he had used his overreaching powers to approve early naturalisation for Atul and Rajesh Gupta.
At first, the minister had gone on live television and claimed that the two brothers were not South African citizens. Then, less than a day later in March 2018, he doubled-back and revealed that the Guptas were, indeed, granted naturalisation.
This hesitance was called out by EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu who accused Gigaba of abusing the provisions of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act.
“On 6 March 2018, Gigaba called a press conference to continue spreading fabrications and dishonesties regarding the Guptas’ citizenship status. Gigaba together with the deputy-general of Home Affairs told the media that Atul and Ajay are not citizens of South Africa,” Shivambu wrote to the Public Protector.
In her findings, Mkhwebane ruled that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Gigaba had used his powers to grant Ajay Gupta and other members of the family early naturalisation “without proper validation of the requisite exceptional circumstances.”
“In doing so, Gigaba acted in breach of the Executive Ethics Code. Gigaba conceded to failing to submit the names of persons who were granted South African citizenship under exceptional circumstances to Parliament every year, as required in terms of section 5(9)(b) of the South African Citizenship Act,” the Public Protector noted.
No remedial action for Gigaba
Furthermore, the former Home Affairs Minister misrepresented facts in the infamous press conference where he insisted that Atul was not a citizen of South Africa.
Mkhwebane concluded that no remedial action will be recommended to the President since he is no longer an active Cabinet member.
“The [current] Minister of Home Affairs is directed to take cognisance of the findings on the improprieties identified in this report and ensure that such conduct is not repeated. He must ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken to prevent the recurrence of the improprieties referred to in this report,” the Public Protector wrote.
The former minister may have escaped possible punitive action from this damning report, but the scorn of his estranged wife Norma Mngoma he can’t dodge.
Mngoma will, according to insiders, appear before the state capture inquiry to provide more insight into the ongoings of her estranged husband and the Guptas.
From what we know, no dates have been finalised with the Zondo commission.