Motsoaledi vows to capture ‘crocodiles’ masquerading with fraudulent immigration documents

Minister of Home Affairs vows to investigate flaws allowing crocodiles into the country with fraudulent documents

Minister of Home Affairs vows to investigate flaws allowing crocodiles into the country with fraudulent documents

Published Mar 17, 2024


Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the days of “crocodiles” lingering in the country with fraudulent documents are numbered as his department vows to work hand in hand with specialist investigative authorities.

The minister made the comments during a briefing in Pretoria earlier today, where he clarified reports of the negative impact on the tourism sector following the leak of an internal communication circular released by his department last year.

He also addressed reports of a looming court challenge by suspended North West Development Corporation CFO Kuda Mpofu, as reported by “Sunday World” on March 10, in what he described as an “a national embarrassment”.

On tourism, Motsoaledi stressed that despite his best efforts to explain on two separate occasions in Parliament regarding the circular issued by his department on December 21, 2023, there remained some backlash from the tourism industry about the negative impact this communique had on the sector.

He said the internal circular directed to the commissioner of the Border Management Authority (BMA), managers of ports of entries, the provincial inspectorate and visa facilitation centres was not even necessary as it was already law and nothing new.

“I conceded it was an unfortunate circular which should not have been issued ... matters it was trying to clarify could have easily been addressed in the normal course operations between the two entities.

“The concept of declaring people undesirable, the word is perhaps unfortunate as it sounds scary but it is the term used by the Immigration Act of 2002 enacted in Parliament and it appears in the Immigration Act 30 of 2002 as well.”

Given that his department understood that there could be delays with exiting the country within the allocated days, Motsoaledi said the receipt issued to tourists upon applying for an extension would act as an extension of their visa until such time they had received a response from the department.

“This means no law enforcement officer, immigration or officials at the ports of entry may trouble you while you are carrying this type of receipt.”

Motsoaledi also highlighted reports of Mpofu, who was allegedly fighting tooth and nail to stop the Department of Home Affairs from deporting him to Zimbabwe.

The minister said it was an embarrassment that Mpofu had not only obtained fraudulent documents but also managed to obtain employment within an entity dealing with public funds.

As for the court challenge, he said his department could confirm that the permit reference number appearing on Mpofu’s documents did not exist in their systems. In addition, the control number appearing on his document was not issued by the department to him but rather legitimately issued to another individual.

“As to how Mpofu came across that control number we do not know. It is a matter that will be investigated later.”

This challenge by Mpofu has however raised in a number of questions about the work of the department in responding to court challenges. Also, how these discrepancies came about. For this reason the minister said the case had been handed over to the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).

“When we were accused of doing nothing about the people crossing our borders, I told the country that people want us to chase lizards while crocodiles are abundant.

“Crocodiles are respectable people who enter the country legally wearing suits or high heels carrying briefcases full of cash to bribe officials to legalise their stay in the country.

“We have reason to believe that crocodiles are found all over the country in very high positions. I want to report today that their days are numbered because we are not going to take this issue lying down and the SIU will be very active,” Motsoaledi stressed.