Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs has vowed to continue its operations and arrest people entering the country illegally across the nation’s borders.
This comes as thousands of people have been crossing through boarders illegally since the December holidays drew to a close.
More than 11 000 people have been arrested and deported between December 10 and January 10 with about 3 000 being deported through the Beitbridge border post.
Those arrested were caught at the port of entry, along the border line or at roadblocks set up near the boarder.
Last week the Pretoria News reported that Home Affairs officials conducting the operations to catch border jumpers said they were growing despondent because of bribery claims.
They said they also felt the operations were a waste of resources and time because deported border jumpers would attempt to return the following day.
Department spokesperson Siya Qoza said the fight against corruption was a daily pursuit and was bearing fruit, as six officials have recently been arrested at the Lebombo border which enters Mozambique.
He said: “The fight against corruption is a daily pursuit at the Department of Home Affairs.
“In November, working with other law enforcement agencies, the Counter Corruption pivoted an operation that led to the arrest of six immigration officers, a policeman and a Mozambican national at the Lebombo Border Post between SA and Mozambique.
“I want to assure you that if there are any Home Affairs officials taking bribes at any border post, they will face the consequences of their actions.”
He said the department would continue to arrest and deport illegal migrants.
“We will continue to arrest and deport illegal migrants who attempt to cross the border illegally each and every time they try to do so.
“Society doesn’t give repeat offenders a free pass simply because they frequently break the law in any other sphere of life.
“Immigration is no different. The processes we follow when we find undocumented people near the border law enforcement area are provided for in law.
“Therefore, we won’t tire in implementing the prescripts of the relevant laws. Everyone who wants to come into South Africa must follow the applicable immigration laws. There is no parallel route to coming to South Africa because you are a repeat border jumper.”
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi also visited the Beitbridge border post to monitor the implementation of festive season operational plans, which were drafted earlier in the year, while department director-general Tommy Makhode visited Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg in the Free State.
Qoza added: “Various government agencies increased staff complements deployed at the borders during the festive period to ensure a smooth and quick processing of legal cross border movements of people and goods.
“An overwhelming number of these officials do their work diligently every single day. In the case of the Department of Home Affairs, some people who are deployed are immigration inspectorate officers tasked with enforcing the immigration laws along the border line and at the roadblocks.