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Where does the truth lie

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Gigaba could be justifying doubts around his suitability to be in Ramaphosa’s “new era” executive

Malusi Gigaba. PHOTO: Phando Jikelo / ANA

O, WHAT a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive! Sir Walter Scott wrote these immortal words 210 years ago for his Marmion; A Tale of Flodden Field.

The sentiments encapsulated in these lines from this historical romance could apply as easily today to the web spun by Malusi Gigaba, the reappointed minister of home affairs.

Gigaba survived the big chop on February26 when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his transition cabinet, which saw the axe fall on at least 10 ministers from the Jacob Zuma cabinet.

Yet, hardly a week after his survival, Gigaba could be justifying doubts around his suitability to be in Ramaphosa’s “new era” executive.

He has, after all, been accused of being the chief enabler of the Gupta state capture project.

On Monday, Gigaba said Ajay and Atul Gupta – who, with their brother Rajesh, are at the centre of the state capture allegations – were not South African citizens but had permanent residency permits.

He said only Ajay’s wife, mother and two children had been granted South African citizenship.

Gigaba’s statement surrounding Atul’s citizenship has been roundly proved to be false, and may come back to haunt him.

Among the thousands of documents unearthed in the so-called #GuptaLeaks emails is a copy of Atul’s South African passport, whose date of issue is July31, 2015, and which is valid for 10 years. Under South African law, non-citizens do not qualify for South African passports.

A check using Atul’s ID number on the Electoral Commission of SA database also confirms that Atul Kumar Gupta is on the South African voters roll, registered to vote at Joburg’s Saxonwold Primary School.

Again, in order for one to be eligible to vote in government elections, one needs to be a South African citizen.

IEC vice-chairperson Terry Tselane was emphatic in a radio interview that it’s impossible for the Gupta brother to be on the voters roll if he isn’t a citizen.

The nail on the head was a statement by the newly appointed International Relations Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, who said in a radio interview that Gigaba had told his cabinet colleagues the Gupta brothers had South African citizenship.

The Gupta empire edifice is crumbling. The Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry into state capture will soon start hearing evidence. As with many matters, the truth about the citizenship status of this family will be laid bare. And all machinations behind that exposed.