ANC MP calls for Mahumapelo to appear before Gupta citizenship inquiry

Supra Mahumapelo (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Supra Mahumapelo (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo could be summoned to a home affairs portfolio committee inquiry into the Guptas' naturalisation if some ANC MPs have their way.

The committee met on Tuesday to discuss and reach consensus on the terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry into how the Gupta family received their naturalisation from the Department of Home Affairs.

MPs were briefed on possible dates and timelines for the inquiry by parliamentary legal services and established that they were in phase one, which was a fact-finding phase.

One of the sticking points for MPs around the Guptas' justification for early naturalisation - among others - was that they assisted with donations for poor schools in the North West province, according to documents submitted to the department.

READ: Guptas granted citizenship due to 'investments, social partnerships'

ANC MP Hlomane Chauke was the first to suggest that leaders in the North West, specifically Mahumapelo, should provide answers to explain how the Guptas were able to assist with schools in the province.

"That is the government of the North West. You don't just come in [to assist] when we are dealing with the principal of a school in the North West. It starts with the premier of that province.

"I don't see anyone getting involved without the approval of the MEC or the premier of the province," Chauke said.

Chauke claimed it seemed more and more, that "every Gupta problem started in the North West".

'Passports must be cancelled'

Chauke was also critical of the role the department had played when some members of the Gupta family left South Africa after they were declared "fugitives".

He wanted to know why their passports had not yet been cancelled.

"They are running away using South African passports to cut across the world. There is a need that we have to [look into that]," Chauke said.

"This committee must be respected, and we are going to start with this Gupta story."

EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi joked that, since Chauke joined the committee, there was "unity".

READ: 'Only Gigaba can answer' - MPs agree to inquiry into Gupta naturalisation

Mkhaliphi added that outcome of their inquiry must be clear.

"We want to establish whether Minister Malusi Gigaba used a section in the [Identitification] Act to grant the Guptas early naturalisation."

Committee chairperson Donald Gumede summarised the proceedings: "I think there is [a] full consensus that there should be an inquiry and full consensus on the terms of reference."

Parliament would have to provide the resources required, he said.

According to the terms, phase one will end in the middle of May and Parliament's legal team will request documents and more information from the parties involved.

Phase two, which involves the calling of witnesses and the dates on which they will be called, will be decided after that.

A finite list of names is yet to be finalised.

The committee hopes to conclude the inquiry process by August.

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