Members of several political parties want Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba summoned to Parliament to account for the naturalisation of the Guptas.
However, members of the portfolio committee on home affairs took a dim view of the absence of director general of home affairs Mkuseli Apleni at the start of its meeting on Tuesday morning.
Members of the committee on Monday received SMSes and emails to request that they be on time for the committee, as Apleni will have little time, because he also needed to be in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
But by 9:30am the committee was informed that Apleni could not attend the meeting.
"We are not here to compromise our integrity," said African National Congress MP Maesela Kekana. "This thing of the DG and minister not being here is total disrespect. These people need to be here to clarify. This is a matter of public interest."
He wanted Gigaba, his successor Hlengiwe Mkhize and Apleni to be summoned to appear in front of the committee.
"They must come here and account," he insisted.
This view was echoed by members from several parties.
ANC MP Donald Gumede said the matter must be addressed as soon as possible.
"It is most important to get accurate, up to date information," he said, adding that Apleni, Gigaba and Mkhize could provide information.
Committee chairperson Lemias Mashile said the committee definitely needed hard facts. He said Apleni would have delivered a 10-minute presentation on these facts.
He also said people couldn't be summoned to the committee, as they have not yet instituted an inquiry.
"We are not doing oversight on him [Gigaba], currently," he said.
Engagement with minister
Democratic Alliance MP Haniff Hoosen said Mashile was disingenuous in reducing the matter to a 10-minute discussion with Apleni.
"I think this committee deserves a chance to engage the minister," said Hoosen, who has written a letter to Mashile to deal with the naturalisation matter
Parliament also on Monday issued an instruction that several committees, including the portfolio committee on home affairs, investigate the tranche of emails between the Guptas, their subsidiaries and several people in government.
After an hour of discussion Mashile said the committee would deal with Hoosen's letter and Parliament's instruction later during their meeting on Tuesday, as well as listen to Apleni if he arrived.
The committee proceeded to the next item on the agenda.
The meeting continues.Suggest a correction