Home Affairs Ministers Malusi Gigaba on Friday said reviewing the current systems for issuing South African documents to foreign nationals was one of his top priorities as he rejoined the department, bearing in mind the “prominent cases” where procedures were said to have been flouted.
“We need to ask questions … a number of cases have come up relating to how people access South African documentation. I think we need review the robustness of our systems in that regard.
"Some of these cases are prominent cases where people have obtained South African documentation, they are found at a later stage to be involved in all sorts of corrupt and other nefarious activities,” Gigaba said.
He was addressing senior home affairs management staff in Pretoria as he begins another tenure in his old portfolio after a brief stint as finance minister.
“The question arises … how robust are our systems to be able to deal with that, to pre-empt it, to combat it, to minimise it? Obviously there is no way that we, sitting here, can know that in the future a person may be engaged in crime or corruption. Is there anything we need to do in terms of the systems we are operating, to improve their robustness, their vigilance, to assist us minimise future problems?”
In March last year, then president Jacob Zuma fired minister Pravin Gordhan and finance deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas. Zuma moved Gigaba from home affairs, to replace Gordhan.
This week, South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa named his first Cabinet and moved Gigaba back to lead the department of home affairs.
The South African Parliament has previously raised questions on how members of the politically-connected Gupta family became naturalised South African citizens.
On Friday, Gigaba said he wanted to reposition the department of home affairs and help it to facilitate economic development in South Africa through its immigration policy.
“One of the urgent things we need to finalise is the repositioning of the department. Much as we have got Cabinet approval to locate it as part of the security cluster, we had also decided that we would want to reposition the department to play a role in facilitating economic development in the country.
"That means supporting our ports of entry, supporting tourism, ensuring that we can play a role in empowering citizens with the documents that will enable them to play an economic role."
The minister was flanked by his deputy Fatima Chohan, and home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni.