A home affairs department female officer allegedly caught taking a R500 bribe from a refugee who wanted to extend his asylum permit is expected to appear in court today.
The Refugee Status Determination Officer based at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre in Marabastad, Pretoria, was nabbed on Tuesday.
She allegedly took the bribe to extend the validity of the asylum permit of a Bangladeshi national, whose application for international protection was being appealed at the Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa.
The official was allegedly seen by a security guard accepting the money from the Bangladeshi national.
The guard alerted the department’s counter-corruption branch resulting in both the official and the refugee being arrested.
While the Refugee Reception Offices remain closed, asylum seekers whose permits cannot be extended online are invited to the offices.
The arrested suspects are scheduled to appear at the Pretoria Magistrate Court on 30 March 2022.
Commenting on the arrest, Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi said: “Bribing an official for a service that is available for free suggests that the person bribing is aware that they don’t have a valid claim for international protection.
“This is another example of the abuse we are rooting out in the asylum seeker and refugee management system.”
The minister again warned that the department had no space for dishonest employees.
“I have instructed the department to conduct a speedy, thorough and full investigation into the matter and action must be taken against anyone who falls foul of the law,” said Dr. Motsoaledi.
Both the arrested official and the refugee are scheduled to appear at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today, Wednesday 30 March.