Guptas' naturalisation: Public Protector finds Gigaba was in breach of Executive Members' Ethics Code

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Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
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  • Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka investigated an alleged violation of the Executive Members' Ethics Code and the SA Citizenship Act by former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
  • In 2018, it emerged that Gigaba had approved the early naturalisation of Ajay Gupta's family, despite Ajay refusing to let go of his Indian citizenship.
  • She said the director-general must consider taking action against officials who were involved in the naturalisation of the Guptas. 


The Public Protector's office has ordered the director-general of home affairs to take action against department officials involved in the naturalisation of Ajay Gupta and his family for their failure to exercise due diligence by verifying the accuracy of the information contained in the motivation for early naturalisation.

Acting Public Protector advocate  Kholeka Gcaleka investigated an alleged violation of the Executives Members' Ethics Code and the SA Citizenship act by former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.

The investigation followed two complaints lodged in terms of the Executive Members' Ethics Act by Democratic Alliance MP Haniff Hoosen and Economic Freedom Fighters MP Floyd Shivambu between November 2017 and March 2018.

In his complaint, Hoosen alleged that Gigaba failed to comply with the provisions of Section 5(9)(b) of the South African Citizenship Act and, in doing so, violating the Executive Members' Ethics Code. The legislation requires the minister of home affairs to "within 14 days after the commencement of the sittings of Parliament in each year" to table in Parliament the names of persons granted South African citizenship "under exceptional circumstances…"

Shivambu, on the other hand, alleged that Gigaba abused the provisions of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act when he granted his acquaintances – the Gupta family – early naturalisation. He further alleged that "on the 6th of March 2018, Gigaba called a press conference to continue spreading fabrications and dishonesties regarding the Guptas' citizenship status. Gigaba together with the DG of home affairs told the media that Mr Atul and Mr Ajay Gupta are not citizens of South Africa".

In 2018, it emerged that Gigaba had approved the early naturalisation of Ajay Gupta's family despite Ajay refusing to let go of his Indian citizenship. Gigaba had on a number of occasions publicly stated that Atul Gupta is not a South African citizen, only to correct himself and say that Atul is a citizen, and it is Ajay Gupta who has not been naturalised.

READ | Gigaba was 'incorrect' to naturalise Guptas, committee finds

Gcaleka's 58-page report released on Monday, stated that Gigaba exercised his discretion and did not abuse his power in the process.

"Nonetheless, I find that the failure by the officials of the department to exercise due diligence and verify the accuracy of the information contained in the motivation which was relied upon by the former minister amounts to maladministration and [is] in violation of Section 195(1)(f) of the Constitution, 1996 and regulation C4.9 of the Public Service Regulations, 2001," the report stated.

With regards to Gigaba failing to table the names in Parliament of persons who were granted South African citizenship under exceptional circumstances, Gcaleka found Gigaba in breach of the Executive Members' Ethics Code.

She said the director-general must consider taking action against officials who were involved in the naturalisation of Ajay Gupta and his family, "for their failure to exercise due diligence by verifying the accuracy of the information contained in the motivation for early naturalisation which was relied upon by the former minister in approving and granting the certificates for naturalisation to Mr Ajay Gupta and family," she said.

READ MORE | Malusi Gigaba: 'I hold no grudges and still have a future in the ANC'

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