SIU, Hawks raid Home Affairs offices in five provinces

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU), with the assistance of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, conducted searches and seized evidence at Home Affairs offices in five provinces on Friday.

The SIU said in a statement that this is part of an ongoing investigation into the affairs of the department.

The SIU was granted a search warrant by the Special Tribunal, a judicial platform established to adjudicate on matters emanating from SIU investigations, on May 10.


The searched offices and mirror imaging of a server took place at the head office of the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria, at the Centurion office, and at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Marabastad.

The other raids took place at the refugee reception centres in Musina, Cape Town, Gqeberha, and Durban. 

“The searches follow a tip from a whistleblower that suggested that Home Affairs officials in the identified centres work with syndicates to duplicate application status files applied for in other offices and process them for a fee,” according to the statement. 

“The whistleblower also stated that the officials bypass immigration systems to enable foreign nationals who have entered the country illegally to remain in the country and acquire permits illegally and unlawfully.”

Home Affairs officials implicated

It was also alleged that Home Affairs officials were delaying the finalisation of the asylum seeker permits to facilitate bogus asylum seekers. 

Using the permits, which were obtained illegally and unlawfully, the bogus asylum seekers remain in the country and later use the same permits to apply for permanent resident permits and ultimately obtain South African citizenship.


“After getting citizenship, they qualify to get a maroon passport, which allows them to travel all over the world except their country of origin.” 

Members of the SIU and the Hawks seized computers, electronic pieces of equipment, and documents that will assist with their ongoing investigation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to investigate serious maladministration and improper conduct at Home Affairs through Proclamation 154 of 2024. 

The proclamation empowers the SIU to probe serious maladministration relating to the issuance of permanent residence permits, corporate visas, business visas, critical or exceptional skills work visas, study visas, retired persons’ visas, work visas, and citizenship by naturalisation, contrary to the Immigration Act, 2002; the South African Citizenship Act, 1995; manuals, guidelines, circulars, practice notes or instructions applicable to Home Affairs; or manuals, policies, procedures, prescripts, instructions or practices of or applicable to the department.

Allegations of improper conduct

The proclamation also authorises the SIU to investigate any irregular, unlawful, or improper conduct by officials or employees of Home Affairs or any other person or entity concerning the allegations being investigated.

It also covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between October 12, 2004 and February 16, 2024, the date of the publication of the Proclamation, or before October 12, 2004 and after the date of the Proclamation that is relevant to, connected with, incidental to the matters, or involves the same persons, entities, or contracts investigated.

“In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption and fraud, the SIU will identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future recurrence,” the SIU explained.

In line with the SIU and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the agency will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action.

The SIU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute a civil action in the high court or a Special Tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigation caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration. – SAnews.gov.za

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