The second phase of the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs’ investigation into the naturalisation process of the Gupta family kicked off yesterday with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuses’ (Outa) Rudie Heyneke’s testimony.
Beginning with home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba and using information gleaned from the #GuptaLeaks e-mails, Heyneke said Gigaba had been “very popular” with the Gupta family.
“He received invitations from the time when he was still the deputy minister of home affairs,” Heyneke said, referring to invitations from the Guptas for Diwali, World Cup soccer, dinners, the Sun City wedding and the Gupta-run South African of the Year awards ceremony.
Heyneke admitted there was not much evidence in the #GuptaLeaks e-mails related to Gigaba.
However, he noted Ashu Chawla, a senior Gupta employee, had written to Gigaba in September 2015 requesting the early naturalisation for three members of the Gupta family.
“This was approved by the minister and a certificate of naturalisation was issued on December 17 that same year, despite the DG dismissing the application,” Heyneke said.
Outa has laid criminal complaints against various officials linked to state capture, including Gigaba, Chawla, home affairs official Gideon Christians and the Gupta brothers.