Revoking the Gupta family's citizenship and Ajay Gupta's permanent residence would be ill-advised as investigations, and possible prosecution, on how these documents were obtained were yet to be concluded, the Department of Home Affairs said on Wednesday, 17 October 2018.
The statement followed media reports alleging that Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba had ignored a legal opinion which expressed a view on the Gupta family citizenship.
“We wish to place it on record that earlier this year in March, Minister Gigaba instructed the Director General to seek legal opinion on the legal circumstances under which the Gupta family’s naturalisation and Mr Ajay Gupta’s permanent residence may be revoked should such a need arise,” the department said.
The legal opinion was received on 4 May 2018.
“Given the interest of the Security Cluster in this matter, the Minister and the Director General subsequently consulted the relevant Security Cluster departments for their views and input. The departments were of the view that it would be ill-advised for the Department of Home Affairs to revoke the Gupta family’s citizenship and Mr. Ajay Gupta’s permanent residence in view of ongoing investigations on them and possible prosecutions,” said the department.
The Minister accepted this view and believes that it would not serve the national interest to revoke the citizenship and permanent residence status of the Gupta family members before the law enforcement agencies conclude their investigations and make prosecutorial determinations.
“Ironically, were he to act contrary to how he has, the people who are publicly agitating for the department to revoke the Gupta family’s citizenship and permanent residence would in all likelihood accuse the Minister of complicating if not obstructing the work of our country’s law enforcement agencies,” the department said.
Home Affairs said it remains committed to the agreement reached by the Minister and his Security Cluster colleagues and will in future refuse to be drawn into public speculation which will not aid the country to resolve the specific task placed at the feet of law enforcement agencies.