Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has initiated a process to revoke the permanent residency of Ajay Gupta as the net closes on the controversial Gupta brothers, says a Sunday Times report. It says Gigaba has instructed his DG, Mkuseli Apleni, to investigate how Ajay obtained residency and seek legal advice about withdrawing it.

This was after Gigaba met President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss his contradictory statements on Atul Gupta’s citizenship and inform him of his intention to act against Ajay.

Should the department revoke Ajay’s residency, he would, among other things, lose his South African ID and his right to open a bank account or apply for loans. The report quotes Craig Smith, the leading immigration lawyer at Craig Smith & Associates, as saying South African authorities could still seek to extradite Ajay to face criminal charges.

‘It would not be a defence to a person being sought to be extradited that they are not a citizen or permanent resident of the requesting state, to avoid extradition in this case.’ According to the Sunday Times, Gigaba’s latest move is seen as a strategy to distance himself from the Guptas after his blunder during a media conference last week when he claimed neither Ajay or Atul were citizens. Apleni has since clarified that Gigaba was wrong and Atul is a citizen. The decision comes as the Hawks have confirmed that Ajay is a fugitive wanted on fraud and corruption charges in relation to the attempted bribery of former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas in 2015.

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)