Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says officials involved in assisting immigrants come into South Africa illegally will be arrested and may face legal consequences.
Truck drivers protest
Motsoaledi was speaking at a media briefing, alongside Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, to provide an update on the truck drivers’ protest on Wednesday.
The Minister indicated that more than 20 immigrants who were in South Africa illegally have been deported.
“In this 12 months period, the number of undocumented people which were found in 23 road operations was 28. We deal with them by sending them to Lindela Repatriation Centre and deport them out of the country,” he said.
Truck drivers have been protesting across some parts of the country, voicing their objections against the employment of foreign truck drivers in the freight industry.
Eight people were arrested on the N3 in Harrismith for obstructing road users from freely using a national road on Tuesday.
On tackling corruption within Home Affairs, Motsoaledi said the department’s Counter Corruption Unit, which investigates wrongdoing by departmental officials, was closing in on border management officials.
“We are hoping, once the border management authority comes into operation, very few people will be coming in illegally. Then there will be the issue about corruption. What about [illegal immigrants] who come [into South Africa] due to corruption?
“[Well] we have established an anti-corruption which is doing well almost every day. Even at the borders I can assure you [that] there are people we are looking at who we think must be arrested. We have already identified the people who must be arrested and they are Home Affairs officials. Once the processes are done between Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies they will be arrested,” the Minister said.
Home Affairs suspended
Last month, Home Affairs suspended five officials for their alleged role in helping Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri fraudulently acquire a South African permanent residence permit.
The officials were also charged internally and will face disciplinary procedures.
The Home Affairs department also has been trying to find out whether monetary inducement was the reason behind the officials assisting Bushiri get residency, TimesLive previously reported.
Motsoaledi told the portfolio committee on home affairs at the time that the investigation conducted by Home Affairs was centrally based into how Bushiri got his documents to become a permanent resident, rather than his escape to Malawi.
Bushiri and his wife skipped the country in November last year after they were granted bail of R200,000 each by the Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court, citing safety and security concerns and saying they would not get a fair trial in South Africa.
They are facing charges of fraud and money laundering of about R102 million.
The processes to extradite the couple back to the country has already started after Malawi received a formal extradition request from the South African government last year in December.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola recently confirmed that government was awaiting the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court in Malawi to deliver its judgment on the extradition.
Lamola indicated that the intention of the South African government was to bring Bushiri back to South Africa to face the law.