Illegality on South Africa’s borders is not confined to the thousands of kilometres patrolled by soldiers. It also happens at ports of entry with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi cracking down – again – on officials from his department.
The minister was at the Lebombo port of entry on Friday to make public eight arrests, six of them Department of Home Affairs (DHA) officials, a police officer and a Mozambican woman. The eight were apparently running a scam, which according to the Minister, is “not only in breach of South African immigration laws but also absolute naked corruption and criminality”.
The arrests follow information given by whistle blowers on abuse of Southern African Development Community (SADC) visa regulations.
Visitors must have valid passports to enter for a maximum of 90 days after which they have to exit South Africa. The man responsible for migration in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet said the scam saw passport holders whose 90 day period was about to expire having their documentation taken for “official stamping” without the holders being present.
This scam, Motsoaledi said at the busy port of entry, is now over thanks to a sting operation by Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) officers, better known as the Hawks.
The scam was apparently being run at a cost of R300 per passport. This, Motsoaledi said, was “painful”.