MINISTER of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba was grilled in Parliament regarding his relationship with the controversial Gupta family and their citizenships.
He was on the ropes throughout his testimony in Parliament during the inquiry into State Capture at power utility Eskom. He was questioned as to why the Gupta family invited him to attend Diwali celebrations and a wedding.
Gigaba said he met the brothers at the Diwali celebrations and wedding. He was quick to defend the situation, indicating that a lot of ministers attend functions.
“We started trickling out for various reasons. People have different reasons why they do these things. Even businesses would invite celebrities, or even pay them to attend events,” he said.
Gigaba maintained that despite having met the brothers, nothing of significance was discussed and no decisions were taken. Another topical issue was his visits to Dubai. The family is said to have conducted some of its meeting in Dubai and certain individuals travelled there at the expense of the family before and after being appointed in the Cabinet.
He could not confirm how many times he had been there but was adamant it had nothing to do with the family.
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Floyd Shivambu hammered Gigaba on this and kept pushing for him to clarify how many times he had been in Dubai. He claimed he did not keep records of social events he attends.
“It is not in my diary, therefore I cannot go back to my diary to recall it. I meet a lot of people, around the country for a variety of reasons. When it comes to social events I do not make the effort to calculate and record them,” he said.
On the Dubai question, he said: “I can confirm to you it had nothing to do with the Guptas. I have never been invited to Dubai and hosted by them, it was either for business, once for personal business, that’s it.”
There were rumours that Gigaba has a bank account in the UAE but he denied, he said he only has one account and its in South Africa.
“I do not have an account in Dubai. I never have and I never will. I only have one account, it’s with FNB honourable member,” he said.
Gigaba also washed his hands off the Gupta citizenship debacle. He said when it came to the naturalisation of the Gupta family, the department followed the law to the T. “The latter of the law was followed to its full extent in granting four out of the five Gupta family members citizenship in 2015,” he said.
He confirmed that Atul and Rajesh Gupta were citizens but that Ajay was not as he did not renounce his Indian citizenship.