The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, have arrested a Home Affairs official soliciting a bribe from a foreign national.
The 50-year-old suspect was arrested in Bloemfontein, Free State on Thursday following an operation conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team together with Crime Intelligence (CI).
It is said that the Home Affairs senior immigration officer had demanded R6,000 from a foreign national for the release of his brother who was arrested for allegedly not having proper documents.
“A sting operation was conducted by the police and Home Affairs where the suspect met with the victim and took R6,000 as agreed.
“He was then arrested after police found him with the money that he demanded from the victim,” provincial police spokesperson, Captain Christopher Singo said in a statement.
The immigration officer is expected to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Motsoaledi told MPs that a complete overhaul was needed regarding South Africa’s immigration system, which he labelled as a “crisis” and an “elephant in the room”.
The minister said Home Affairs’ counter corruption unit, which consists of 13 members, has been making significant progress to combat illegal activities.
“It’s a testimony of why we need a complete overhaul of the immigration system in South Africa. In the coming weeks, we will continue to arrest more and more people, both foreign nationals and South Africans involved in passports fraud and other forms of identity theft as well as corruption.”
He also said South Africans have been reporting where fraudulent and corrupt activities have been taking place across the country on a daily basis.
“We are hitting the call, we are going there, we are investigating and we are making progress,” the minister said.
More than 25 suspects were arrested in March for alleged fraud, corruption, contravention of the Immigration Act and possession of suspected fraudulent documents.
The suspects were arrested at the Home Affairs office in Krugersdorp, following intelligence received regarding the fraudulent passport allegations countrywide.
According to Motsoaledi, the arrested kingpin and his syndicate had been operating in South Africa’s six provinces, excluding the Northern Cape, Free State and North West.
The scam was allegedly mostly done by Pakistani and Somali citizens.
On Monday, a senior Home Affairs official was dismissed after it emerged that he recommended the permanent stay of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his family in South Africa.
Former chief director Ronney Marhule was found guilty of gross dishonesty, gross negligence and non-compliance with the Immigration Act when he recommended issuing the permits to Bushiri’s family, “which they did not deserve”.
The department said Marhule had also been charged regarding permanent residence permits issued to two other people, Mohamed Afzal Motiwala and Fatima Ebrahim.
Marhule’s dismissal comes after a year-long investigation.