Cape Town - South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba on Thursday, 30 March, expressed his concerns about human trafficking following the most recent case of child trafficking.
Three children were intercepted by immigration officers at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday, 29 March, the DHA released a statement saying that a "male individual was prevented from departing the country with three children with fraudulently acquired travel documents".
According to Gigaba, a total of 15 cases of human trafficking have been reported this year alone, including the cases which occurred on 29 March.
Speaking at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport, he said that Wednesday was a tumultuous day for immigration across SA.
He was referring to 18 arrests which had been made on various Home Affairs and police officials, as well as members of the public on charges relating to fraud and corruption.
The suspects have been charged with contravention of the Immigration Act. It is alleged that the intermediaries sourced Basotho nationals whose passports have expired and arranged with Home Affairs officials to irregularly stamp the documents, thus securing entry into the country. This network involves the alleged corrupt police officers who would ensure smooth passage of goods at the port of entry.
According to Gigaba, speaking about the recent child trafficking arrests, some of the children's cases involved fraudulent Home Affairs documents.
Ahead of the Easter travel period, Gigaba says additional safety measurements have been implemented at Department of Home Affairs offices. "We will continue to weed out corrupt elements in our Department, in our Government and indeed, in our society precisely because we are of the firm belief that corruption and fraud have no place in our existence," he says.
Gigaba says while challenging, "it is the responsibility of South Africa not to turn a blind eye to trafficking". He says the children in question either originated from our neighbouring countries or destined to some of them, and it is the responsibility of both SA and the rest of the SADC countries to fight these crimes.
Gigaba again highlighted the dire need for a "robust international immigration management process and environment," while the Department of Home Affairs tweeted that all foreign nationals entering SA are currently captured on a biometric system, which helps tremendously in picking up irregularities immediately.
You can see SA visa regulations for travelling with minors here: 17 Things you need to know about travelling with minors in SA
You can watch the full media briefing on irregular movements of children at ports of entry below -
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