JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs continues to flip-flop on whether the Guptas have South African citizenship or not.
On Tuesday, minister Malusi Gigaba held a media briefing following a meeting with MPs over the issue.
He said the family does not hold citizenship even though he had said in June 2017 that the Guptas had been naturalised.
"Their application was done in 2013. It was rejected in 2014. They appealed, we considered new facts through an independent panel established in the department. Based on the documents submitted the decision was overturned," he told journalists on Tuesday.
"But secondly, they were asked to renounce the citizenship of their country of origin. At which point Mr Ajay Gupta declined to renounce his Indian citizenship. And therefore, Mr Ajay Gupta is not a South African citizen. He is a permanent residence permit holder, which he received in 2008, but he is not a South African citizen."
But shortly after the briefing, ID numbers, apparently belonging to Gupta family members were entered into the IEC's database, showing they were registered to vote at the Saxonwold Primary School.
South Africa, Malusi Gigaba is a pathological LIAR, and surrounded by conmen and imposters who deliberately mislead South Africans. The Guptas (Atul, Ajay, Atul) are South African citizens with South African passports and the 2 even registered to vote with the @IECSouthAfrica. pic.twitter.com/luFYUD3rRi— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) March 6, 2018
In addition, a photo of a passport that appears to be Atul Gupta's is circulating on social media.
In an interview with KayaFM on Wednesday morning, Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete muddied the waters again, insisting Gigaba was speaking in his personal capacity on Tuesday, and not as minister.
Tshwete told Kaya Breakfast's David O'Sullivan that when Gigaba said Atul Gupta was not a citizen, he meant he did personally grant him citizenship.
Listen to the full interview below:
Meanwhile, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe blamed miscommunication within the party for Gigaba’s conflicting statements.
"I’m sure that with contentious engagement, proper understanding and a context would be given. We must always allow cadres deployed to brief the organisation, using our own proper internal structures. It’s very necessary so we all communicate one common message to the public."