Cape Town – The Department of Home Affairs is pulling all the stops in its efforts to dismantle syndicates that sell South African identities to foreign nationals.
TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that a suspect Nico Ibrahim was arrested at the home affairs office in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, on Friday last week after he had been on the run since April.
His arrest came following that of alleged recruiter, Mohamed Ali.
The report said that Ibrahim appeared in the Kliptown magistrate’s court on Monday and remained in custody.
Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said his department had intensified its fight against corruption since the massive bust of a Pakistani kingpin and 29 people including the department’s officials in March, the report said.
“We have been on the trail of those participating in these schemes and we are dealing harshly with corrupt officials who facilitate these shameful acts. The arrests on Friday demonstrate that criminals have nowhere to run. The police and our counter-corruption unit are hot on their trail. We are expecting more arrests.
“All documents found to have been issued fraudulently are immediately cancelled, rendering them useless to the person who holds them,” the report quoted Motsoaledi as saying.
Ali and former home affairs official, Nhlanhla Mathebula were denied bail and were on trial in the Mbombela magistrate’s court.
According to SABC News, Motsoaledi also emphasised the role that SA police needed to play in the fight against these syndicates.
“Every police have a right to do spot checks and check documents against the national population register and it is unfortunate someone has to be arrested because we have to do a manual check,” the report quoted Motsoaledi as saying.
He said this while briefing the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee.
Motsoaledi also elaborated on his department’s plans to deal with over 133 00 refuge and asylum seeker permit appeals backlog and allocated over R140 million for the next four years to clear the backlog, the report said.
The report said these included the reopened four refugee centres in Durban, Pretoria, Gqeberha and Musina while the Cape Town refugee office will be reopened next week on Friday.
Picture: Twitter/ @HomeAffairsSA
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe