Militant with SA passport: Pandor blames late registration of birth

2013-09-26 16:21

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has blamed the late registration of the birth of Natalie Faye Webb for the issuing of a fraudulent South African passport to “white widow” and terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite.

For this reason the late registration of births had to be brought to an end, the minister told journalists in Pretoria. Now newly born children are required to be registered within 30 days, and moves are afoot to pass regulations to penalise parents who fail to do so.

Pandor also said there was a need to look into the case of Webb following reports that Lewthwaite had used her identity to rack up credit in South Africa.

Lewthwaite first entered South Africa in 2008, and her last visit was in 2011.

Pandor said the suspect’s passport was declared invalid when it was discovered in 2011 that her South African identity document had been acquired fraudulently.

The minister said a person using the passport would be caught, as it was regarded as an illegal document.

Lewthwaite is suspected of masterminding the Kenyan mall hostage attack by militant outfit al-Shabaab, which has claimed the lives of more than 70 people, and left scores more injured.

Pandor said steps had been taken to improve the security of the South African passport since, and said the improvements that were being made would help address future attempts to acquire South African travel documents illegally.

She said there was a need to find out who had received the application for the passport in the name of Webb, which was issued in Durban.

Pandor said this incident would have no impact on people travelling with South African travel documents as it did not affect the new passports, which have extra security features.

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