Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he will even fight this in court if need be.
Atul Gupta’s attempts to have a new South African passport issued to him will not be accepted, with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi determined to fight the matter in court.
The controversial Guptas fled South African shores as the country’s law enforcement agency began closing in on the family accused of being at the centre of the state capture project of appointing cabinet ministers, and the alleged looting of state coffers under the nine-year presidency of Jacob Zuma.
With the Guptas now based in Dubai, an unsuccessful attempt was made in 2019 by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to negotiate the signing of an extradition treaty for the Guptas with the government of the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, news broke that Atul Gupta had approached the North Gauteng High Court to force the Department of Home Affairs to issue him with a new South African passport. However, Motsoaledi said his department had put together a top legal counsel team to fight the matter.
“We definitely believe he shouldn’t be getting the passport he’s applying for, that’s what we are defending, that’s our position in the department.
“The rest of the reasons will be provided by senior counsel, but our position is that we are defending the case because we don’t think his demand for a South African passport is proper,” Motsoaledi said.
He could not be drawn in when quizzed whether the department was aware of any attempts by Atul Gupta to return to South Africa.
In December 2020, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said that despite the UAE government failing to cooperate with South African law enforcement agencies, the NPA was determined to ensure the controversial family was brought to book.
“There’s work that is being done around the Guptas, but there’s still more work to be done because there is a commission that is taking place and subsequent to that, there would be criminal charges that would have to be laid and prosecution would have to make the relevant applications to the various countries.
“So, work is still being done and once that work has been done, pronouncements will be made in terms of where those processes are,” Ngwema said at the time.
Speaking to Independent Media today, Ngwema said that there was no extradition application against the Guptas, but the NPA had sought mutual legal assistance from the UAE government to assist them with gathering certain evidence in the Middle Eastern country.
“You only apply for extradition when you have particular charges before a particular court and as the NPA we do not have that for now,” Ngwema said.
He said the NPA had no business with Atul Gupta’s application to compel Home Affairs to issue him with a new South African passport.