JOHANNESBURG: Scores of fake Indian birth certificates were among hundreds of documents seized by South African officials in King Williams Town after a man believed to be an Indian national was arrested along with a Ministry of Home Affairs official for running a scam.
The two unnamed men allegedly facilitated fraudulent marriages involving illegal foreign nationals, many of them from the Indian subcontinent.
The marriages were with local women, some allegedly paid large sums in the marriage of convenience racket to secure South African citizenship for the foreign migrants.
An investigation by the Home Affairs Counter-Corruption Unit, South African Police Services (SAPS) Crime Intelligence and the specialised intelligence unit Hawks led to the arrest of the two men.
A search of the house of the man, believed to be an Indian, led to the discovery of copies of passports, identity documents, marriage certificates, temporary residence permits, visitor's permits, asylum seeker permits and many blank Home Affairs face value documents.
Other documents seized, include police clearance certificates and foreign birth certificates, mainly from India and Bangladesh which, were all confiscated.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba hailed the arrests as a significant step in the recently launched Operation Bvisa Masina, which seeks to stop the rot within the Department of Home Affairs.
"(The) arrests ought to serve as a deterrent and a warning to those who are involved in these unscrupulous acts which seek to undermine government's efforts to deliver quality services to our clients. As government, we are sending a strong message of zero tolerance towards corruption in all its manifestations," Gigaba said.
In recent years many local women have discovered to their shock that they are married to foreign men when they try to use their identity documents. Duplicate and stolen identity documents were found to have been used in many such cases.