Elukwatini: Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday sent a stern warning to corrupt officials in her department, saying they will not be tolerated.
“We are coming after them and we will make sure that they are behind bars,” she said.
Speaking during her department’s Imbizo in Elukwatini, just outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, Pandor said she was aware that there were corrupt officials who were enriching themselves by selling some documents to illegal immigrants.
She was referring to officials who receive bribes from illegal immigrants in exchange for allowing them to enter or leave the country.
The minister called on those who are in the country illegally to visit their offices so they can be assisted and be documented.
Elukwatini is one of the areas populated by illegal immigrants mostly from Swaziland and Mozambique.
Pandor said her department was aware of the problem and they were trying to find ways of dealing with it.
“We will find better ways of controlling it. We need to know them (immigrants),” she said.
She told the locals that government is there to serve them. “This is your government, we are here to serve you.”
Also speaking at the Imbizo, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said the provincial government was doing everything in its power to deal with the problem.
He encouraged those without proper documentation to visit Home Affairs offices in the province.
He said they won’t be chased away as they look for better opportunities. “They are our neighbours and we need to find solution for the problem.”
Mabuza said it was difficult to plan when there were people without documentation.
Local residents came in large numbers to attend the Imbizo. A number of them complained to the minister about the treatment they receive from Home Affairs officials when they visit their offices for assistance.
The visit by the minister in the area came at the right time for Sizakele Makhubo, 40, a mother of two small children, who used the opportunity to apply for birth certificates for her children.
She told SAnews that she that she could not go to Home Affairs offices because of lack of transport money.
“I’m glad that the minister and her team decided to visit our area and I used the opportunity to apply for my children’s birth certificates,” she said.
Some appealed to the minister to assist them to get IDs and other documents.
Pandor was accompanied by the Mabuza, MEC for Finance Madala Masuku – who is the Champion of the Mpumalanga Provincial Stakeholder forum, Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande District Municipality Mishack Nhlabathi, the Mayor of Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality Busi Shiba and the Chairperson of Mpumalanga Provincial Stakeholder Forum Snana Dlamini.
Prior to the Imbizo, Pandor interacted with members of the community, as well as handing over IDs, birth certificates and other documents to Home Affairs clients.
The minister’s day started with a visit to Oshoek Border Post, where she met and interacted with her department’s staff members and travellers at the border.
Oshoek was in the news recently because of the arrest of Home Affairs officials who took bribes from people who wanted to come into South Africa without proper documentation.