Home Affairs clamps down on passport fraud and introduces transit visas

Pakistani and Bangladeshi travellers will now require a transit visa to travel to South Africa. R2.4 billion has been set aside to digitise 350 million civic documents dating back to 1895. These are among recent developments Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi briefed the media about in Pretoria on Thursday.

The new measures are meant to address security breaches that have compromised the integrity of South African Passports. Among them is a requirement that South Africans will have to physically collect their passports at the same Home Affairs office where they applied, and reinstating a transit visa for Bangladeshi and Pakistani travellers.

In June, four Bangladeshi and four Pakistani nationals were arrested at O.R. Tambo International Airport for entering the country illegally.

A video showed police officers awaiting the men who were in the process of exiting through a fire hydrant door, having tried to evade security.

“Today, I wish to announce that we have withdrawn the transit visa exemption and reinstated transit visa requirements for Bangladesh and Pakistani ordinary passport holders from 1 August 2022”, says Dr Motsoaledi.

Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals caught at OR Tambo 19 June 2022:

Authorities say steps are being taken to safeguard the integrity of the South African passports.

A Pakistani national was arrested in Krugersdorp earlier this year. He was caught colluding with Home Affairs officials to defraud South African passports.

“On March 2022, in our Krugersdorp Office, the nation saw us apprehending a Pakistani national, arresting him with some South African citizens and corrupt Home Affairs officials. All these people were working together to defraud the South African passport,” says Motsoaledi.
Ten thousand youth will be hired to digitise 350 million South African civic paper documents dating back to 1895, at a cost of R2.4 billion.
“The department has more than 350 million civic paper records relating to birth, marriages, deaths, and amendments. The category of records dates back to 1895 which necessitates care and reliable systems that will bear tolerance for the digitisation purposes,” adds the minister.
Motsoaledi says while the status of South Africans, who sold their identity to foreign nationals will be reversed, they will still face charges of trying to defraud an official South African document.
Home Affairs briefing 11 August 2022:

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