PARLIAMENT, March 7 (ANA) – The absence of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in the National Assembly to answer questions on the citizenship status of the controversial Gupta family on Wednesday drew the ire of opposition parties who accused him of being a “pathological liar”.
Speaker Baleka Mbete read out a letter from Gigaba’s office saying he had to “rush to the doctor” and could therefore not attend the question-and-answer session for ministers who are part of the peace and security cluster.
On Tuesday Gigaba denied that Ajay and Atul Gupta, two of three Indian-born brothers alleged to have made billions of rand off state contracts secured as a result of being close friends and benefactors of former president Jacob Zuma and his family, were granted South African citizenship.
On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) on Wednesday confirmed that Atul Gupta was registered to vote in the country – meaning he had a South African ID number and was indeed a citizen.
“Minsiter Gigaba is a pathological liar,” charged Economic Freedom Fighers (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Wednesday, protesting the minister’s unavailability to be grilled on the matter.
Speaker Baleka Mbete insisted Ndlozi withdraw the remark. In typical EFF fashion, Ndlozi refused to be cowed and was booted from the House.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu intervened, saying: “If you are going to protect liars like that you are going to get in serious trouble.”
Shivambu was also kicked out of the House for his trouble.
The Democratic Alliance proposed the questions to Gigaba be postponed so he could appear before MPs and account for allegations that he was lying about the Guptas citizenship.
The ANC accepted the questions stand over to another date.