Cape Town: South African Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs said on Tuesday it will institute a full-scale inquiry into the Indian Gupta family’s citizenship.
Terms of reference for an inquiry will be drawn up once all information has been gathered from the Home Affairs Department and Parliament, said Acting Committee Chairperson Donald Gumede, Xinhua reported.
“The decision really is to collect all information to decide whether we need a full investigative inquiry or not. In principle, we are not against it,” Gumede said.
This decision drew immediate applause from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
The DA had requested that the committee launch an investigation into the controversy surrounding the naturalization of the Gupta family, which is accused of collaborating with former president Jacob Zuma and some senior government officials in looting from the state coffers, known as state capture.
South African police have launched a manhunt for some of the Gupta family members, whose whereabouts remain unknown.
The DA reveals that more Gupta family members have been granted South African citizenship than previously known.
This information was never revealed or reported to Parliament, as is required by law, the DA said.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and his department only explained the circumstances surrounding the naturalization of five Gupta family members granted South African citizenship and registered as voters on the Independent Electoral Committee database, according to the DA.
The DA will ensure that Gigaba and the Guptas have no opportunity to dodge accounting to Parliament, said Haniff Hoosen, DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs.
“We look forward to this inquiry and ensure that those found guilty of any corruption will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Hoosen said.
Also on Tuesday, Gigaba refused to take the responsibility for granting citizenship to the Gupta family members.
He told MPs that former ministers of his portfolio should also go to Parliament to account for the naturalization of the Guptas.
The Guptas entered South Africa in the early 1990s, therefore the ministers of home affairs at that time should be called here to answer what were the reasons provided to grant them citizenship, Gigaba said.
The Guptas were naturalized between 2002 and 2006.
The ministers of home affairs at that time must come and answer questions about what were the conditions at the time, said Gigaba.