PRETORIA – Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi says the department has decided to overhaul its immigration system and that details of this will soon be announced.
Motsoaledi said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote priorities during a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
“…Another elephant in the room is the problem of immigration. I don’t have to outline what is taking place in our country about this problem. It is a crisis we are all well aware of,” he said.
This following a recent rise in tensions between South African citizens and foreign nationals in several communities, with the main issue being unhappiness with undocumented immigrants taking up economic activities, while others have been fingered to be contributing to crime.
“For today, it will suffice to say we have decided on a complete overhaul of the immigration system of the country.
“Complete overhaul means exactly that. Work in this regard is well underway and we will soon unveil it.”
Border Management Authority being capacitated
Motsoaledi said, meanwhile, that the much-anticipated Border Management Authority was being implemented.
“We have long conceded to the problem of porous borders in our country. You are aware that the implementation of the newly-established Border Management Authority is well underway,” he said.
He said the Commissioner and his two Deputies are hard at work to establish the structure.
“Recruitment of first cohort of Border Guards has been completed and they will be brought in next week for onboarding, which includes an orientation programme and deployment to the selected areas of the borderline which are known to be problematic.”
He said it is hoped that this cohort will be officially launched in the first days of the next quarter.
Motsoaledi said a Counter Corruption Unit, established just under a year ago, has in a short period of time made headway in tackling corruption.
The number of arrests of kingpins and syndicates speaks for itself, said the Minister.
About 60% of the cases Counter Corruption is dealing with have to do with immigration issues, especially matters of permitting, which is a further testimony on why there is a need to completely overhaul the immigration system of the country.
“Let me inform you that 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.
“Since the arrest of the Pakistani kingpin of passports fraud on 24 March this year, the Counter Corruption unit cannot find time to rest.
South Africans from all walks of life, including members of Parliament are reporting to them acts of fraud and corruption on a daily basis.
“This is heart-warming and indicates that our people are tired of corruption. We shall root it out without fear, favour or prejudice and we promise never to be intimidated or derailed by anybody.”
Motsoaledi said the department was adding 12 new staff members to the Counter Corruption unit. These will include analysts, researchers and investigators.