Bureaucracy is somehow synonymous with corruption. It would be very difficult to find a country in the world that is free of this problem. So it is somehow not surprising that the South African Department of Home Affairs (the DHA) occasioned the arrest of 12 employees in the last three weeks. Assisted by the special investigative unit known as the Hawks, the DHA’s own Anti-Corruption Unit effected the arrests of 12 officials in Durban, Mount Frere, Grahamstown, and at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, according to DHA director-general Mkuseli Apleni.
“Three immigration officers at the OR Tambo Airport were arrested for facilitating the illegal entry and stay of foreign immigrants in South Africa, while the fourth allegedly took a bribe of R1 000 from a foreign national to facilitate illegal entry into South Africa without the necessary yellow fever certificate,” Apleni said.
In the case in Mount Frere, two officials were arrested after they allegedly issued a fraudulent marriage certificate for person who is deceased. According to Apleni, they did this in order to claim on an insurance policy. In Durban, the situation appears to be significantly worse, with the arrested officials accused of registering hundreds of fraudulent marriages between South African citizens and foreign nationals, so as to grant the latter residence in the country. The arrest of an official in Grahamstown was on similar charges. The Hawks, assisted by the Anti-Corruption Unit are currently investigating all marriages registered by the arrested officials so as to ascertain the exact extent of the problem.
“The arrests of these officials in Johannesburg, Mount Frere, Durban and Grahamstown again send a positive message that the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure those involved in such criminal activities face the full might of the law,” Apleni stated. He went on to say that the involvement of South African citizens in the fraudulent registration of marriages was a source of concern. He warned that those involved in the fraud would be brought to book.
Besides ongoing investigations, the DHA is rounding off the organisation of a nationwide anti-corruption summit, which will be held in the second half o this year, and will involve participation by labour, NGOs and organised business.
“We believe the summit will help give impetus to existing efforts by the department and law enforcement agencies to rid our society of the cancer of fraud and corruption,” Apleni stated.