Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has applauded law enforcement officials for the arrest of three Home Affairs officials and their external partners involved in issuing fraudulent identity documents.
The officials were arrested in two separate operations in Emalahleni and Pretoria.
Edwell Muntu Monareng, a mobile operator from the Emalahleni Home Affairs office in Mpumalanga, was arrested by the Hawks on Wednesday and appeared in court on Thursday for corruption.
Monareng was arrested in a sting operation involving the Hawks, SAPS Crime Intelligence and the Department of Home Affairs Counter Corruption unit.
He was arrested for paying a bribe of R13 000 to a Home Affairs Counter Corruption officer, who was investigating him for birth certificate fraud. The bribe was to make the fraud charge disappear.
Counter Corruption officers reported the attempted bribe and a sting operation was arranged to arrest him when he paid the bribe.
Monareng was also being investigated by a Home Affairs Counter Corruption official for fraudulently registering a Pakistani national and issuing him with a birth certificate.
According to the department, Monareng became the focus of the investigation after a member of the South African Police Service, based at the King Shaka International Airport, questioned a Pakistani national, who was preparing to travel on a South African passport.
The Pakistani national looked older than the age recorded in the fraudulent passport. Upon further investigation, they found his Pakistani passport with a different date of birth and surname.
The Pakistani national was arrested and charged with possession of a fraudulent South African passport and for contravention of the Immigration Act.
The police referred the matter to Home Affairs Counter Corruption.
“Using technology-enabled security features built into the system, an internal Home Affairs investigation established that Monareng had registered the Pakistani’s birth and issued a birth certificate. This birth certificate was later used to apply for the passport at the Empangeni Home Affairs office in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The investigation into the activities of Monareng also flagged another 131 transactions, which are suspected to be fraudulent and were completed by Monareng between April 2018 and January 2019. The department is continuing with the investigation into the 131 suspected cases and will be initiating a disciplinary process against Monareng,” the department said.
Monareng appeared in court on Thursday and was released on a R3 000 bail. He is scheduled to reappear in court on 9 October 2020.
In a separate operation, law enforcement arrested Chinas Mohlolo, a former Home Affairs supervisor who left the department on 30 September 2019; Percy Mabena, an administrative officer at the Home Affairs office in Pretoria, and two Zimbabwean nationals Thubelihle Nyathi and Khumbulani Moyo.
The Home Affairs Counter Corruption unit initiated an investigation after an official reported to them that Mohlolo had demanded the login details of the junior official.
Mohlobo proceeded to change Moyo’s records to Callos Mazibuko, with a South African ID.
After Moyo’s arrest, he identified Nyathi, who is not a Home Affairs official, as the person who introduced him to Mabena.
“It is alleged that Mabena liaised with Mohlolo to have Moyo’s records fraudulently altered. The department is investigating transactions linked to both Mabena and Mohlolo. In addition, disciplinary processes are being initiated against Mabena,” the department said.
All four accused appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on fraud and corruption charges. They also face additional charges of contravening the Immigration Act, the Identification Act and the Births and Deaths Registration Act.
Mabena and Mohlolo were granted R 2 000 bail, Nyathi and Moyo were denied bail and they remain in custody.
The accused are scheduled to appear at the same court on 7 September 2020.
Motsoaledi said he was encouraged that there are officials at Home Affairs and in the police who reported and acted swiftly to root out corruption.
“We will continue to monitor all reported cases to ensure that perpetrators and beneficiaries of fraudulent activities are brought to justice and sent to jail where they belong. We are clearly benefitting from introducing technology based security features in our processes.
“It is only when people report suspected wrongdoing that we will turn the tide against maladministration, fraud and corruption. I continue to support the efforts of law enforcement agencies in ensuring that all forms of maladministration are rooted out of the Department of Home Affairs,” Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi encouraged South Africans to ensure that their children are registered within 30 days of birth.
The Minister also encouraged anyone, who may have information about corrupt or any other criminal activities, to contact the South African Police Service or the anti-corruption unit of the department.
People with information can contact the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701 and the Home Affairs Counter Corruption Unit on 012 406 4318.