South Africa: Combating Corruption Is Everyone's Business

The Department of Home Affairs says corruption will not flourish if officials and citizens are to take personal responsibility for stopping it.

Over the years, the department has come up with interventions in an effort to mitigate the corruption and fraud that has affected many citizens negatively and also slowed down service delivery.

The department's spokesperson Thabo Mokgola said there is no place in the department, or elsewhere in government, for corrupt officials bent on reversing the gains of democracy.

"We all have a role to play in fighting corruption. We expect public officials to lead the way in this regard.

"We will spare no effort in pursuit of those in the system and in society who undermine the national drive towards service delivery improvement," he added.

Measures in place to fight corruption, fraud

In recent years, the department launched Operation Bvisa Masina which seeks to intensify the fight against fraud and corruption.

Mokgola said this is a collaborative effort aimed at clearing the rot from the department, working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies and government departments in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.

"Our Modernisation Programme, whose pillars include the live capture system for identity documents, has proved successful making it difficult for corrupt officials to commit fraud," he said.

He said the department has also introduced a number of preventative measures which include promoting ethical behaviour through various interventions and training of officials.

Mokgola said some of the interventions in place are intended to improve the quality of decision-making, responsibility, good conduct, patriotism, integrity and accountability among officials.

"Such instructive programmes are reinforced by the department's Moetapele Leadership Initiative aimed at improving client experience in all our offices," he said.

The training of officials also seeks to mitigate fraud, such as fraudulent marriages.

A fraudulent marriage happens when a victim's ID number is used without their knowledge to create a marriage to a stranger that exists only on paper. Their surnames as recorded on the Home Affairs registry then change to those of their alleged spouses.

This can have dire consequences for the victim.

Mokgola said in order for a victim to nullify their fraudulent marriage, the department would need the victim to submit a sworn statement from the South African Police Service (SAPS) confirming that, according to the their knowledge, such a marriage is fraudulent and that the client has no knowledge of the existence of such a marriage between themselves and someone else.

"We would also request ten specimen signatures of the complainant, ID copy and then conduct an investigation," Mokgola said.

"In the process of investigating the matter, we would request some information from the office manager and the officer who concluded/registered the marriage.

He said if such information cannot be found on the National Population Register (NPR), it would suggest that such marriage is fraudulent. The NPR points out the office and the data capturer who registered the marriage.

He said in cases were signatures have been forged the marriage will be expunged from the NPR.

The department constantly provide training to officials on all aspects of marriages and also sends out circulars on civil registration matters.

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