CAPE TOWN – In a scheduled question and answer session in Parliament today, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba was a no-show.
Speculation regarding minister Gigaba’s absence were highlighted by Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen. “We know he is in terrible difficulty at the moment,” Steenhuisen remarked on a point of order.
The controversy regarding the naturalisation of Atul and Ajay Gupta dominated the news cycle yesterday. Minister Gigaba’s comments at a briefing on Tuesday were that both Gupta brothers were not citizens of South Africa. However, information in the Gupta leaks and confirmation from the Electoral Commission that Atul is a registered voter, seems to contradict the minister’s remarks.
Gigaba’s absence was further felt as there were some questions today that his deputy Fatima Chohan could not answer, according to Steenhuisen.
House speaker Baleka Mbete had at first stated that she did not receive a letter requesting Gigaba’s absence. However, after the argument persisted for some time, Mbete informed Parliament that she had just received a letter.
Mbete confirmed the content of the letter, stating, “He is not feeling well”.
The question session continued in Gigaba’s absence.