PORT ELIZABETH - Leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Kenneth Meshoe said in Parliament on Wednesday the Department of Home Affairs had failed in its mandates to protect the identity of citizens, as well as to regulate immigration in the interests of South Africa.
"According to the 2014-2019 strategic plan of the Department of Home Affairs, it is mandated to efficiently determine and safeguard the identity and status of citizens, as well as to regulate immigration to ensure security, promote development and fulfil South Africa’s international obligations.
"The department has, sadly, failed to effectively execute these two mandates," Meshoe said.
He said, for example, that Home Affairs had still not dealt with complaints of women who had found they were married illegally and without their knowledge to strangers they had never met had still not been dealt with.
He said this had a detrimental effect on many women who were then unable to get employment or open bank accounts, for example, because their marital status could not be verified.
He said that Home Affairs should have the capacity to investigate these cases and correct the fraud, as well as trace whether there were officials inolved who should then be prosecuted if found culpable.
"It is unacceptable that women should be trapped in a fraudulent marriage, sometimes for years without assistance from the department, Meshoe said.
"The story that the honourable minister told this afternoon about Thami Swartbooi is proof that if a Home Affairs official is willing, they can assist women who are trapped in such relationships.
"We heard that Thami was assisted within 48 hours after suffering horror, humiliation and harassment for 14 years. My question is why can this not be done for all women who find themselves in a similar situation?"
Meshoe said that the South Africa's borders remained porous and that some illegal immigrants who become involved in criminal activities remain untraceable because their fingerprints and identities are not on record.
"The ACDP, therefore, calls on the minister to ensure that there are tight controls at our borders so that all visitors to our beautiful country are properly documented, so that if they commit a crime while they are here, they can be quickly be tracked and arrested.”
African News Agency (ANA)