South Africa has established a ministerial committee that has been tasked with reviewing several categories of permits and visas issued since May 2004.
The ministerial committee was set up by the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to ensure that the visas and permits were issued to qualifying people and that all the immigration laws were adhered to. The reviewing of the visas and permits comes after findings made by the department‚Äôs anti-corruption unit and immigration branch.
Announcing the motivation for setting up the committee to review the visas and permits, Motsoaledi said,
‚ÄúThree weeks ago, in a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, I announced my intention to set up a task team to review some permits that were issued by the Department over the years. I identified the need to review the permits after realising a trend emerging from the outcomes of cases involving prominent people investigated by the Department‚Äôs Counter Corruption Unit, which investigates wrongdoing by departmental officials.
‚ÄúOver the years, the Counter Corruption unit has established that 66 percent, or nearly two out of every three reported cases, involved permitting. The allegations are reported by different whistle-blowers using different avenues to reach the Counter Corruption unit.
‚ÄúIn November 2020, during a high powered investigation, I was alarmed when 14 members of the permitting section signed a petition demanding that the Counter Corruption unit should stop investigating their errors. This admission strengthened my resolve to have a more transparent permit issuance regime.‚ÄĚ
The ministerial committee has been tasked with reviewing all permits and visas issued since 2004 in the following categories:
The Minister said that the ministry chose 2004 as the cut-off date because that was the year the Immigration Act, Act number 13 of 2002, came into operation.
‚ÄúThis committee is expected to present an interim report in three months. The three months‚Äô period is not an indication of the lifespan of this committee, but this target communicates our desire for a speedy conclusion of the review because most of the information to be reviewed is already held within the Home Affairs Department,‚ÄĚ he said.
Motsoaledi also said that the committee has been tasked with identifying the weakness of the immigration system.
‚ÄúThe expeditious and accurate issuance of these permits can contribute to growing the economy as we emerge from the impact of Covid-19. The committee will also identify loopholes in our system and recommend improvements,‚ÄĚ
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