Minister Malusi Gigaba will finally account to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, after it agreed to hold a full inquiry into the process that led to members of the Gupta family receiving early naturalisation.
The committee met on Tuesday to discuss a series of emails that Democratic Alliance MP Mohammed Hoosen had tabled before them.
Hoosen said that there were more Gupta family members who had received citizenship – beyond the initial five first disclosed to the committee by the department.
He proposed that it was time to put the issue to bed once and for all in the public interest, and to set a date when they could call both the department and Gigaba to Parliament.
“It will give the public at large the comfort that we have dealt with it, and we then decide how we take the matter forward,” he proposed.
“All of us in the committee have a responsibility to hold the officials accountable for that.”
What they wanted to know was whether or not there was any impropriety in granting the family early citizenship, and if so, who granted it, he said.
“Only the minister can answer that,” he added.
ANC MPs support proposal
The ANC caucus seemed to finally have reached firm consensus on the issue. ANC MP Maesela Kekana declared it was time to deal with the issue decisively.
“Having read the documents, I’m convinced there is a case to answer. Without a waste of time, this matter is of public interest. We are here as public representatives to work for the people who put us here,” he said.
“We are not here as praise singers, we are here to make sure we play our role as Members of Parliament.”
ANC MP Dineo Raphuti agreed with her colleague, but not before “raising her concerns” about the whistleblower who made the information public.
“Did this whistleblower goes through someone’s emails? Is it for personal gain? We need to look at… here is someone who got a hold of emails,” she mused.
But she supported the inquiry, she eventually said.
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said the inquiry was long overdue, as previous battles to hold had it led to a reshuffle of chairpersons in the committee.
“We must also remember – some of the Guptas – they are fugitives.”
ANC MP Patrick Chauke said the committee needed to prepare and put the facts together.
He also had one last warning to those who would appear before them.
“Anyone who has lied before Parliament, there are sanctions. There are very clear sanctions,” he said.
The committee would start setting up timelines for the inquiry, and would also start requesting documents from the department and the minister.
Parliament goes on recess over Easter, and will sit again on April 16.
In the end, the decision was unanimous. – News24