This report has been updated since publication to include Minister Malusi Gigaba's response, which was not carried in the original report. The original article also erroneously stated that Haniff Hoosen said Minister Gigaba had appointed VFS Global to handle South African visa operations, when the contract was signed before Minister Gigaba became Minisister of Home Affairs. Tourism Update apologies for the error.
The minister of Home Affairs was grilled by the opposition in parliament on Friday on why a Gupta-directed company was issuing receipts for people applying for visas through VFS Global.
The Democratic Alliance’s Haniff Hoosen said Home Affairs had appointed VFS Global to handle South African visa operations but receipts were being issued by a company called Islandsite Investments, whose directors include Duduzane Zuma and Rajesh Gupta.
The Democratic Alliance, which discovered the link, has called for a full investigation.
“The Guptas have not only captured President Zuma, they have also captured our government and now have they have captured the entire tourism industry.
“Before any tourist even puts a foot in our country, the Guptas get their share first. Any person in the world, who wants to travel to our country for work, business or pleasure, must first pay their share to the Guptas.
“Then In October 2014, the Minister announced that the permits for approximately 250 000 documented Zimbabwean citizens who were in the country were to be cancelled and a new special permit was then created for them. In order for them to remain in the country, they had to apply for this new permit. And once again, VFS was the company that issued those permits and they scored about 300million rands from that deal.
“You have to wonder, what was the reason for creating a new permit, when these people were already in possession of a permit in the first place. Well, join the dots and the picture becomes clearer. TheMinister makes new regulations for new permits, VFS rakes in the cash, the Guptas and the Zumas laugh their way to the bank.
“It gets even better. Now Minister Gigaba has recently announced another new permit. This time for citizens of Lesotho. In order for them to stay in the country, legal or illegal, they must obtain the new Lesotho Special Permit. There are an estimate 400 000 Lesotho citizens in the country and even more are likely to move to SA now that there is a 4 year permit available for them to live here.
Soon there will be nobody left in Lesotho and guess who will be processing those applications and how many more millions the Gupta’s will be scoring.
“So the relationship is simple. Minister Gigaba manufacturers new permits and the Guptas rake in the cash.
“I want to ask you Honourable Minister, and we all know about your cosy relationships with the Guptas, what was your role in securing this deal for VFS? You cannot deny that you knew nothing about this,” said Hoosen.
Minister Malusi Gigaba responded to Hoossen in Parliament, saying he was making misleading and wild allegations.
According to the Minister, Hoosen never contacted him with regards to the VFS contract. He said: "I don’t know about his requests. He met me in the portfolio committee recently, he knows where my office is, he is the shadow minister. He would have phoned or Tweeted or sent me a message. He did none of the above. This is the first time I hear about these requests.”
Although Hoosen in his speech to Parliament never alleged that Minister Gigaba signed the contract with VFS and merely asked what Gigaba’s role had been in securing the deal for VFS, Minister Gigaba said: “He (Haniff Hoosen) said I signed the VFS contract, knowing that some would benefit. I do not take these allegations lightly. Just because somebody says it, doesn’t make it so. The VFS was signed in 2011 when I was the minister of public enterprises and not home affairs.”
Minister Gigaba went on to say: "Thirdly, he makes an allegation about a certain company which is linked with VFS Global, which has headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. The challenge is that Hoossen had no argument to make about the policy debate. To digress, he chooses to make wild allegations, abusing parliamentary privilege, knowing that what he is doing is playing to the gallery, and making wildly misleading remarks, that he knows he will not be able to prove."