- Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has defended himself against allegations of improper conduct on his behalf in regards with his relationship with the Guptas
- Gigaba told MPs that his relationship with the Gupta family was strictly professional
- The minister has repeatedly denied being responsible for the early naturalisation of the Gupta family
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has defended himself against growing allegations of improper conduct with regards to his relationship with the infamous Gupta family and their various business partners and associates.
Gigaba told Members of Parliament (MPs) that his relationship with the Gupta family and their associates was absolutely and strictly professional. Gigaba gave testimony late last night at the ongoing Parliamentary Inquiry into the early naturalisation of the Guptas.
Gigaba has repeatedly denied being responsible for the early naturalisation of the Gupta family and has pointed out on several occasions that he was first appointed as Home Affairs Minister in 2014 long after the Guptas received their citizenship.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Gigaba told the home affairs portfolio committee which in conducting the inquiry that he like many other public servants had public interactions with various members of society which included members of the Gupta family.
Gigaba said this interaction was inherent in the role of government officials and fell in line with the government’s attempts to secure and attract foreign investment.
Eyewitness News reported that Gigaba said it was naïve to think that he was captured or beholden to anyone family or business group just because he attended private events and functions. Gigaba’s comment was in response to criticism about his attendance of the controversial Gupta wedding at Sun City.
Gigaba denied ever receiving calls from any member of the Gupta family on his personal phone and said he never met the family outside of the borders of South Africa.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Haniff Hoosen got under Gigaba’s skin when he asked the minister to give a detailed account and description of his relationship with the Guptas. A visibly irate Gigaba told MPs that it was a professional relationship with no personal links and not a friendly buddy-like relationship.
Gigaba refused to speak about other ministers who might have attended events organised by the Gupta family or any of their associates. The minister said he was there to answer questions about the Guptas naturalisation and would not stray from the inquiry’s mandated purpose.
Gigaba admitted that he had attended two Diwali celebration on the invitation of the Guptas during his first term as home affairs minister. One of those events was held in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg and the other was at the Gupta family home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Gigaba testified after the former Home Affairs foreign office director, Major Kobese, told the inquiry that he had received instructions from Gigaba’s chief of staff to fast-track visa applications for the Guptas and their business associates.
The DA has given President Cyril Ramaphosa seven days to fire Gigaba and the Minister for Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini or face legal action.
The DA wants Dlamini and Gigaba axed from the cabinet because they both have serious allegations of lying under oath lodged against them.
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