Source : general GCIS | 07 Mar 2018 16:22 PM | 815 words

The Minister and Department of Home Affairs, yesterday, Tuesday 6 March 2018, attended a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs at which the matter of the naturalisation of Ajay Gupta family was raised, and duly clarified. This was followed by a briefing to the media in Cape Town in light of voluminous interview requests received.

This matter started with a document circulated on social media early in 2017 seemingly to draw public attention to the granting, by Minister of Home Affairs, of naturalisation to members of Ajay Gupta’s family (Annexure A). The Department was invited by the Portfolio Committee to explain the matter. Accordingly, on 27 June 2017 the Director-General Mkuseli Apleni briefed the Committee on applicable legislation and the process followed.

Ajay Gupta family’s naturalisation

The Department informed the Committee that there were five Ajay Gupta family members who applied as a group. Focus has therefore been on the five members of the Gupta family who had applied for naturalisation, whose matter was raised in the document circulated on social media, thus warranting to be clarified.

The five are Mr Ajay Gupta (born 05 February 1966), Mrs Shivani Gupta (Mr Ajay Gupta’s wife, born 10 May 1970), Mrs Angoori Gupta (mother, born 30 December 1945), Kamal Singhala (son, born 25 October 1992) and Surya Singhala (son, born 10 March 1995).

The process of naturalisation in this regard followed their request for exemption to ordinary residence requirements as stipulated in Section 5(9)(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1995. Their request was in keeping with Section 5(9)(a) which states that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in subsection (1)(c), the Minster may under exceptional circumstances grant a certificate of naturalisation as South African citizen to an applicant who does not comply with the requirements of subsection (1)(c) relating to residence or ordinary residence in the Republic.

The Minister approved their request for early naturalisation on 30 May 2015 (Letter attached as Annexure B).

However, of the five, four members of the family, excluding Ajay Gupta, were naturalised after they fulfilled the requirement to renounce their Indian citizenship, given that India does not allow dual citizenship. The reason that Ajay Gupta was not naturalised is that he did not renounce his Indian citizenship. Therefore he remains not a citizen of South Africa. He only holds a permanent resident permit.

Supporting documents on Gupta family investments

On 27 February 2018, in adherence to a request from the Portfolio Committee, the DG presented, to the Committee, the supporting documents showing investments and social responsibility of the Gupta family in South Africa. The report was accepted by the Committee. The Committee will validate the documents submitted as evidence, for authenticity.

Atul Gupta’s naturalisation

Yesterday the Minister attended his first meeting of the Portfolio Committee wherein the department was going to present its third quarter report.

The Committee had an opportunity to ask the Minister questions about the naturalisation of the members of the Ajay Gupta family. It was after this meeting that the Minister addressed a media briefing to respond to media requests.

During the briefing the matter of Atul Gupta’s naturalisation was raised which was never a subject for the investigations. He was naturalised before the tenure of Minister Malusi Gigaba at Home Affairs.

Therefore, Minister Gigaba never dealt with the granting of citizenship to Atul Gupta, who was naturalised on November 2002, having satisfied the ordinary requirements for naturalisation. He arrived in South Africa in 1994.

The entire Gupta family in the DHA system

In order to address the Gupta family in its entirety, the Department looked at all the people with the Gupta surname who are on the system. We found that there are 39 people who are not naturalised, 13 who are naturalised, and 10 who were born in South Africa, which gives us a total of 62 (Annexure C).

It should be noted that Atul Gupta was naturalised in November 2002 and Rajesh Gupta was naturalised in July 2006. Both of them appear in the IEC voters roll.

Furthermore, Atul Gupta has been having passports, which were issued as follows:

04 November 2002 to 03 November 2012
29 September 2004 to 28 September 2014
05 June 2008 to 04 June 2018
19 March 2013 to 18 March 2023
31 July 2015 to 30 July 2025

We trust that this statement clarifies the entire matter around citizenship and status of members of the Gupta family. We want to reiterate that Ajay Gupta who was the subject of the investigation is not a South African citizen.

Enquiries: Mayihlome Tshwete on 072 869 2477.

Issued by Government Communication and Information System

07 March 2018