By Sunday Elijah
Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has welcomed the swift arrest of a Refugee Status Determination Officer (RSDO) based at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre in Pretoria on Tuesday.
RSDO are personnel mandated to adjudicate applications of asylum seekers looking for refugee status.
The arrested officer allegedly took a bribe of R500 to extend the validity of the asylum permit of a Bangladeshi national whose application for international protection is being appealed at the Refugee Appeals Authority of SA (RAASA).
While the Refugee Reception Offices remain closed, asylum seekers whose permits cannot be extended online are invited to the offices.
The RSDO was arrested after a Department of Home Affairs security guard saw her take money from the Bangladeshi national.
The security guard confronted the two and called the Counter-Corruption Branch of the department. Upon interrogating the two, Counter-Corruption called the Hawks who arrested both suspects.
“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,” said Minister Motsoaledi.
Minister Motsoaledi reiterated his call that there is no space for dishonest employees at the Department of Home Affairs.
“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,” Motsoaledi said.