Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has welcomed the arrest of an immigration official with his police accomplice at the OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.
The immigration official had been under observation for some time due to his suspicious behaviour and suspicious lifestyle.
The net closed in on him on Wednesday evening when he was caught red-handed stamping nine passports of nationals from different countries as if those people had departed the country in February 2023 and returned on Wednesday.
Initial investigations established that a runner brought the passports to the airport and handed them over to the policeman, who, using the fact that he was in uniform, went through security into the immigration area.
He then linked up with the immigration official who proceeded to stamp the passports.
An undercover police officer caught and arrested them. It is believed that the immigration officer charged R2 000 for each passport he stamped.
The arrested immigration official and the police official are expected to appear at the Kempton Park Magistrate Court on Monday.
The police are on the trail of the runner and the owners of the passports.
“We are indebted to the brave and patriotic law enforcement officers for the arrest of each rascal that cheapens the status of our country. I am extremely encouraged by these patriotic acts and I am even more determined to continue the fight against corruption in Home Affairs,” said Minister Motsoaledi.
“The act of stamping passports for departure and re-entry of people who remain in our country is extremely worrying.
“The owners of these passports can commit crimes in the country and claim that it could not have been them because ‘they were not in the country’ at the time of the commission of the crimes.
“They can use our departure and re-entry stamps on their passports to argue their cases in court. This is simply inexcusable. It makes foreign nationals with bad intensions believe that South Africa is up for the take,” Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi issued a stern warning to criminals operating out of OR Tambo International Airport and other Ports of Entry that they are being watched every single day and law enforcement will pounce on them at any moment.
Source: South African Government News Agency