South Africa: Gigaba and Gupta Citizenship: Several ethical and legal questions remain unanswered

Published: 14/Jun/2017
Source: Daily Maverick (South Africa)

By Pierre de Vos

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s confirmation this week that he granted citizenship to members of the controversial Gupta family in 2015, is at best an admission of a calamitous lapse of judgement on his part. While a court will have to decide whether the decision was also unlawful and invalid, such a judicial process might reveal fascinating information about the reasons behind the minister’s decision to grant the family citizenship despite the fact that they did not meet the legal minimum requirements.

By all accounts the Guptas are not a particularly nice, nor a particularly honest, family. They used their contacts and their proximity to President Jacob Zuma (which they attained, among others, by giving Zuma’s son – Duduzane – a job, several cars, and a flat) to land a private plane full of wedding guests at Waterkloof military base in 2013. They are also racists who demanded that they and their guests should only be served by white people. Evidence in the public domain also suggest that, if properly investigated, they may be prosecuted for corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.

These are clearly not the kinds of people who would normally be granted citizenship by the government of a sovereign country, let alone be exempted from the ordinary rules that apply to the granting of citizenship to permanent residents.

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Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2017