Dodging Gigaba must be summoned to explain Gupta naturalisation

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The DA is angered by the absence of the previous Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, and the current Minister, Buhle Mkhize, from today’s meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.

Last week, the Committee Chairperson confirmed that the committee would have the opportunity to interrogate these Minister about exactly how members of the Gupta family were naturalised.

They had been asked to appear before the committee and, according to both Parliament’s schedule of committees and the Committee’s own agenda, they we set to appear. Nevertheless, neither were in attendance today without offering a reasonable explanation.

As a consequence, the Committee gained no insight into why then-Minister Gigaba overruled the Department’s decision to dismiss the Gupta’s application for naturalisation, for failing to meet the prescribed requirements.

Instead, the Director-General of Home Affairs only offered us what we knew already: that Gigaba had the discretion to approve the naturalisation of the Guptas and that he exercised this prerogative for reasons which remain unknown.

South Africans are treated to near-daily media reports of how the Gupta family’s relationship with members of the Executive resulted in preferential treatment. Now Parliament is again being frustrated in its efforts to interrogate this suspicious exercise of executive authority.

It is for this reason that the DA believes that Gigaba must now be summoned to Parliament by way of a formal subpoena to ensure his attendance and accountability.

In opposing the DA’s proposal for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on State Capture, the ANC in Parliament argued that portfolio committees should be allowed to deal with the many allegations which are now in the public domain, individually. However, events in the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs show exactly how this approach is doomed to fail and how implicated ministers are running scared.

There is no way in which Malusi Gigaba can outrun the allegations which emanate from his tenure as minister of Public Enterprises, Home Affairs and now Finance. He should take time out of his hectic press conferencing schedule and account to Parliament instead.

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