The Department of Home Affairs appears to back-tracking on its claims that Atul Gupta is not a South African citizen.
It follows confirmation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday that Gupta is a registered to vote in Saxonwold.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba claimed Atul Gupta was not granted South African citizenship because he refused to denounce his Indian citizenship.
But Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni says Gigaba's statement referred to other members of the Gupta family.
He says that Gigaba had "erroneously" told the media that Atul Gupta was not a South African citizen.
This is why the minister released a statement yesterday saying that he made a mistake of dealing with Atul in the same breath as Ajay.— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
That gentleman was naturalised in 2002 and Gigaba was not even Minister of Home Affairs at the time.— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
Apleni also responded to a letter signed by Gigaba informing the Guptas that they have been granted naturalisation.
Yes that letter is genuine. It was issued by the minister based on the power which he has.— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
Our law says, in order to apply for naturalisation, you must be in the country for five years as a permanent residence holder but in that 5 years you cannot be out for more than 90 days in a year.— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
Ajay Gupta has complied with that as well as his two sons .... the mother in that fifth year, she was out of the country for 3 months and 18 days and the wife was only in South Africa for three years.— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
Apleni says the Guptas applied for naturalisation as a family and stated that if one member of the family does not meet the requirements then naturalisation will not be granted.
He says the Guptas later made a special application in which they mentioned that they have invested about R25 billion in South Africa.
Apleni says this was taken into account when considering their application.
Remember that Oakbay was listed on the JSE at the time...— Mkuseli Apleni, DG of Home Affairs
To hear the rest of the conversation with Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni, listen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Gigaba made mistake on Gupta status: DG of Home Affairs