12 Home Affairs officials fired after passport fraud

The newly-built Department of Home Affairs offices that were officially opened by president Cyril Ramaphosa, in Mokopane, Limpopo. Picture: Supplied

The newly-built Department of Home Affairs offices that were officially opened by president Cyril Ramaphosa, in Mokopane, Limpopo. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 18, 2024


A massive criminal syndicate of allegedly corrupt Department of Home Affairs officials has been uncovered after 12 of them were fired for passport related crimes across the country.

This comes after a Pakistani national, Arfan Ahmed, was jailed for 18 years this week.

Ahmed was arrested during a multi-disciplinary sting operation by police and Home Affairs officials in 2022.

According to Home Affairs, Ahmed has been convicted of corruption and bribing officials at the Krugersdorp Home Affairs office to the tune of R45 000.

Ahmed was trapped and arrested in a sting operation that included the Counter Corruption Branch of Home Affairs, the Hawks and the Police Crime Intelligence at the Home Affairs office in Krugersdorp in March 2022.

“In the aftermath of his arrest, his home was searched where multiple passports which were not supposed to be there were found,” spokesperson Thabo Mokgola wrote in a statement.

“For this offence, he is serving eight years. As the kingpin of the passport photo swop, he was recently sentenced to another 10 years’ imprisonment by the Krugersdorp Regional Court.

“He is therefore serving a total of 18 years for his involvement in the overall passport syndicate’s activities,” Mokgola said.

The passport syndicate sought to undermine the country’s laws by fraudulently procuring South African passports for Pakistani nationals who did not have a legal right to possess the documents, he said.

“Ahmed was working with some corrupt Home Affairs officials in a network that spanned Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga provinces.

“The 12 corrupt Home Affairs officials who enabled his scheme have already been fired by Home Affairs after the conclusion of their disciplinary processes,” said Mokgola.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi welcomed the Pakistani national’s sentencing.

“It’s a welcome development. The courts are sending a strong message that crime does not pay.

“We’ve been waiting patiently for the sentencing of this kingpin for his role in the Krugersdorp passport syndicate.

“This is an illustration that in our unflinching commitment to uproot fraud, corruption and all sorts of crimes bedevilling our country, we make sure that kingpins and their lieutenants face the full might of the law.

“Passport fraud is not a victimless crime. Every South African is a victim because we are now forced to apply for visas when visiting countries like the United Kingdom.

“This was not the case before syndicates like these denigrated our passports.

“We will therefore have no mercy for anybody whatsoever, Home Affairs official or outsider, who gets involved in these dastardly acts. We are doing so to protect the interests of all South Africans.

“I urge all citizens to immediately report such acts of crime to the nearest police station or Home Affairs officials. Also, to refrain from criminal acts such as selling your identity,” said Motsoaledi.

The Star