Home Affairs visa backlog crisis exposed amidst bribery and corruption allegations

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
06 Mar 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP

The Department of Home Affairs’ systemic backlogs have fostered an environment where bribery has become commonplace.

In 2022, the Lubisi report confirmed issues of theft, fraud and corruption are being instigated by opportunistic officials and unscrupulous syndicates within the Department of Home Affairs. Around 45,000 fraudulent visas were issued between 2014 and 2021 by the Department.

This week the Minister was required to present the progress made since the Lubisi report to the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. The following, among other things, was revealed:

  • 115 instances of officials implicated in potentially unlawful and/or irregular activities;
  • 307,178 instances of potentially implicated individuals in unlawful and/or irregular activities relating to the processing of visas/permits; and
  • 303,832 instances of potentially unlawful and/or irregular movements processed by officials of the DHA.

Due to prolonged investigations, many of these officials identified continue in their employment in the Department. Just this week allegations have surfaced that the Minister’s ministerial staff have been involved in a bribery scandal.

A British couple stated by affidavit that after emailing the PA of the Minister, Mamokolo Sethosa, to follow up on a retirement visa, they were shortly thereafter sent a WhatsApp requesting R60 000 to have their visas processed.

When pressed for a response to these allegations by the DA, the Minister unconvincingly made the excuse that the official’s email account was hacked, and that the Department issued a warning to the public. However, on the Department’s website, the last scam alert was published on 12 April 2022.

The Minister’s continuous failure to deal with the visa backlog creates the impression that these delays have become deliberate so that officials can solicit bribes from desperate applicants. The Department of Home Affairs is an embarrassment to South Africa and is deterring foreign direct investment in our country.

No one should be asked to pay a bribe for services in South Africa, and the Democratic Alliance is committed to rooting out corruption and preventing the enabling environment which allows this to continue. The Department of Home Affairs needs a Minister who can take responsibility for their actions and solve the issues that plagued the Department.

The DA will be submitting a PQ to the minister to determine how many of the officials implicated in illegal activity remain employed by the Department. We will also submit a question asking the minister how many officials have been criminally charged and the number of convictions obtained.