JOHANNESBURG - When home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba pleaded illness for not appearing in the National Assembly to answer questions on Wednesday, South Africans expressed their scepticism.
Gigaba's question and answer session was scheduled a day after he told journalists neither Ajay Gupta nor Atul Gupta were South African citizens.
Just hours later, a photograph of Atul Gupta's passport was circulated on social media, and then the backtracking began, with the home affairs spokesperson saying Gigaba had meant he did not personally grant the Guptas citizenship.
Later, the ANC said there had been a miscommunication, while the IEC confirmed Atul Gupta is registered to vote.
Home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni tried to clarify the issue on Wednesday, saying that Atul and Rajesh Gupta are naturalised South African citizens, but their brother Ajay is not.
Twitter users were merciless in their cynicism of Gigaba's failure to show in Parliament.
Our fellow Africans brothers some even married to our beautiful SA sisters most of them have more years than this #Guptas thing #HomeAffairs still giving them 2 years visa some 6 months asylum. Today Gigaba is sick yesterday he lie to the nation, what is this? #StateCapture pic.twitter.com/gt761XIBku— JerryMpiana (@JerryMpiana) March 7, 2018
Melusi Gigaba was so sick he couldn't even sign a letter of apology, he must have eaten a lot of polony last night pic.twitter.com/aT1dZHX3Nm— #SizofundaNgenkani (@kizobantu) March 7, 2018
Minister Gigaba and Dudu Myeni are snitching on our "sick notes" old adage at work places. Eish! Now our bosses will know. pic.twitter.com/qLB4eXBR76— Belinda Dilima (@beedecadent) March 7, 2018
Whatever meds Gigaba is taking I want some. Confuses the country one day not well enough to attend parliament the next re Atul Gupta. Dude must be on some strong stuff... #AMLive pic.twitter.com/ACQZr4yOYk— Rowen Nortje (@Anakha56) March 7, 2018