Foreigners fleecing welfare system

2011-08-16 22:14

Cape Town - Thousands of foreigners from neighbouring states are enjoying the benefits of South Africa's welfare and pension systems, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Immigration services deputy director general Jackson McKay told a joint sitting of Parliament's labour and home affairs portfolio committees that a roadblock last year, near Musina in Limpopo, had discovered more than 3 000 Zimbabweans carrying South African IDs.

"We ran an operation at the end of the Christmas period. People returning from Christmas holidays. We had a roadblock... and we found in excess of 3 000 Zimbabweans carrying South African documentation.

"So they have access to grants, they have access to all the benefits South Africans have. And they are residing [in Zimbabwe]."

The operation had been set up after officials noticed there was "an inordinate number of 'South Africans' travelling to Zimbabwe", especially over Christmas and Easter.

Living two lives

Earlier, McKay told the committee that a lack of integration between home affairs' systems gave individuals an opportunity to "reside in different regimes within the department's databases, sometimes under different names and enjoying multiple benefits under assumed identities".

Responding to a question on this, he said some of these individuals were actually living across the border, but crossing into South Africa once a month to collect benefits.

"There are people who have South African documentation and... when it is grant time, or pension time, they cross the border to collect the pensions and go back again.

"So they benefit from us. Sometimes they use different names. They enjoy multiple benefits."

Referring to Zimbabweans who had fraudulently procured South African documents, he explained that many lived two lives.

"Some of these Zimbabweans are known as John Smith in South Africa, and John Ngcube in Zimbabwe. And indeed, they live two lives. They have assets, they have bank [accounts], they have everything in Zimbabwe; and they have another identity in South Africa," McKay said.

Asked after the briefing for figures, McKay said these were not immediately available.

The two committees were looking into the presence of foreign nationals within the South African labour market.

Earlier, McKay told members that of the more than 66 000 work permits issued by home affairs in the first quarter of this financial year (April to June), a total of 59 363 were issued to Zimbabweans, in terms of the department's Documentation of Zimbabweans Project.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-08-17 00:37

    The scum of the earth. Mugabe.

  • Boiling Frog - 2011-08-17 01:45

    With no tight contolls in place they will fleece the system without batting an eyelid or a guilty concience even though they know it is wrong to do this.

  • Kevin Rack - 2011-08-17 05:27

    Ermm well where did they buy then from. Yes brother your ANC comrades are selling fake IDs and are part of the corruption that did not exist 17 years ago. You blaming of the foreigners when: 1 You fail to tackle Mugabe so his poeple come here 2. Your comrades selling the Id 3. Your comrades complicit in the fraud. 4. Your leader been accused on corruption 3 times. 5. The failure of your comrades to tackle corruption Comrade your utterances are xenophobic and what has lead to the murders of these people that helped us get our freedom. Shame shame!

      Badnews - 2011-08-17 07:07

      And don't forget the comrade that sold the useless unintegrated home affairs IT system for billions. At least he gave some to Somalia.

      otter - 2011-08-17 07:44

      the fact that it was not reported on because the regime did all our thinking for us does not mean that no corruption existed 17 years ago

      Willem Louw - 2011-08-17 07:53

      @Otter, corruption extisted 17 years ago, yes it was kept more low key. But it is nothing in comparrison to what we are seeing now!

  • Trevor - 2011-08-17 05:32

    The open door policy of the ANC does not work, yes it might be a good "marketing" tool for electionsbut in the end, NO country can survive if their borders are left open, case in point.SA is becoming the welfare state for Africa and the ANC needs to rethink it's policies unless it wants to face a problem that will blow up into full on's coming...

  • The_Librarian2 - 2011-08-17 06:46

    I am not surprised. Welfare systems WILL be exploited.

  • Lyndatjie - 2011-08-17 07:03

    May I just say that until the official figures have been released that can be substantiated - this type of article just fuels xenophobia with hearsay and suposition! This article makes it sounds as if every Zimbabwean is in on this scam. More responsible reporting would truly be appreciated... or is it suddenly ok to report on anything people spew as the gospel according to Truth, Truth and nothing but the Truth.

      Bill - 2011-08-17 07:34

      How do you substantiate figures based on false and counterfeit ID books????

      daaivark - 2011-08-17 10:20

      I agree fully. Thanks, Lyndatjie. There are indeed many many very upstanding Zimbabweans in this country. People who work hard and live honest lives. Indeed, the work ethic of most Zimbabweans I know (and I know several) would put many South Africans to shame.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-17 12:24

      @ Daaivark - I second that!

  • jen - 2011-08-17 07:17

    It is old news, how come the MP's only hear about it now. The NHS system will be over burdened by illegal foreigners.

  • Duracel - 2011-08-17 07:29

    This is exactly the kind of problems that face SA and its tax payers. How many other 'citizens' are there out there living of government grants whilst the poor tax-paying working class of this country is taxed/tolled to death. Lets look at the best interest of South Africans and inpats that actually contribute to our country and do not get a work permit (as i have personally seen) to 'work as a domestic'. Surely there are people who want a job but can not get one and even though they are SA they are also living off grants suffering the indignity of not having a employment. Do not get me wrong, there are those to lazy to work but then the system should deal with them i.e. grants should only be valid for a period or 3 or 6 months in certain cases then you have to reapply. This will also cause jobs to be created for admin staff in government thus employing all those thousands of school leavers who otherwise will not have a job and then again rest on the state.

  • Larch Strober - 2011-08-17 07:30

    Any system you put in place to prevent this from happening will fail as the people who'll end up running and controling the system are corrupt. How do you think these Zimbos got the ID's...

      daaivark - 2011-08-17 10:21

      What's a Zimbo, dear Safro?

  • Jim - 2011-08-17 07:32

    How can this goverment allow these people to pour in when they havent got enough jobs for South African people, no systems in place, and using our tax money to support Mugabe's run a ways and in return we are faced with a higher crime rate.

  • lini - 2011-08-17 07:36


  • Sisie - 2011-08-17 07:49

    Ah yes the streets are not paved with gold - false advertising. So lets fleece the country some other way. They live a double life. They don't pull up ties with Zimbabwe they send foreign currency to that country, they don't pay tax - they would rather take from the taxpayer (grants) they want RDP houses and will pay (bribe) for such. So really they contribute nothing to this country (okay cheap labour). Now i will contradict myself when they find honest work they really do work and work hard, they are pleasant and respectful.

  • nn.prv - 2011-08-17 07:53

    This article is about Zim ,what are the other "neighbouring states".Just curious.

      jen - 2011-08-17 08:14

      Not only neighbouring states. Nigeria, Uganda, Congo, Ghana. The list goes on. Anybody can visit SA. If you want a visa for other countries you need to show your bank account and have strong ties eg. permanent job in your home country.

  • The_gr8_1 - 2011-08-17 07:58

    I had a helper from Lesotho who had a SA ID and was getting the grant. Needless to say when I found this out, I let go. I'm a taxpayer and who does not like giving grants to my own and resents doing it for a neighbor

  • ryan.kruger1 - 2011-08-17 08:12

    Just to Zimbabwe? One should see the Komatipoort Border post over the same period...the lines stretch for literally about 2 kms, to get to Mozambique, it faster to detour through Swaziland with an extra +-100kms tacked onto your journey.

  • 50something - 2011-08-17 08:18

    Bloody bastards. What is government doing about this, something is going to give and don't have to tell the intellegent people what it will be. And I bet it is not only Zimbabweans, but also Swazis, Mozambique. Never hear about Botswana citizens having the urge to do this - wonder why?. That's why Malema wants to break it - it works.

  • WCD - 2011-08-17 08:19

    ooh no, we did not know that !

  • Jameel - 2011-08-17 08:19

    Dont worry, soon we will be asking carrying Zimbabwe IDS's to get grants from them as their currency may well be stronger than ours. Well done Mr President, your leadership raped this country of everything dear.

  • Tired - 2011-08-17 08:33

    Does that mean that John Smith the springbok captain is from Zimbabwe???????????? lol

  • Derek - 2011-08-17 08:57

    So if we are issueing all these work permits to foreigners we can't have an unemployment problem? Cosatu, instead of just encouraging strikes get your act together and fight to protect jobs for South African citizens! You are part of the alliance aren't you

  • tailormade - 2011-08-17 09:00

    I know it's impossible, but I would love to know how many people with fake ID's vote in our elections....

  • Debonaire - 2011-08-17 09:02

    Bet they cant wait for NHI to kick in

  • zackie - 2011-08-17 09:13

    so more parasites bleeding the taxpayers dry and anc govt invites more in

  • les - 2011-08-17 09:25

    The Zimbabweans are not the only ones with deul ID's.Many SA citizans do the same to get additional grants.The trouble lies with the corruption in issueing ID's.First point to start the cleaning up.

      daaivark - 2011-08-17 10:34

      Not to mention the many South Africans who also have British, Dutch, or German passports. Perspective, please.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-17 12:23

      @ Les - Zimbabweans are not allowed to have dual nationality...

  • struth - 2011-08-17 09:30

    I am 63 years old and am a white S.A. Citizen. I do not have a private pension but cannot claim a government pension because my husband is supposed to support me. However he is a permanent resident, not South African. Is this fair in the light of what is going on?

  • struth - 2011-08-17 09:39

    A simple way to sort this out is for these Zimbos and other foreigners to be sorted out is to request a South African Birth Certificate from them before they can claim any benefits.

  • AllHoliday - 2011-08-17 09:44

    Government NEEDED the masses to come here to VOTE for them (legalise them and give them ID's etc). Now that they are here we have to pay the price - Thus the reason for the uge unemplyment. They get all the benifits of free education, free medical, grants etc. We who were born here have to work ourselves into the ground and still pay more each day. Come on ANCYL, why not do something worthwhile and address this Matter!!? Or were this the plan all along??

  • pig - 2011-08-17 10:10

    well Zuma granted them citizenship to get more votes for the anc!

  • Mafele - 2011-08-17 10:25

    Not only Zimbabweans.There's a lot of Lesotho and Swazi nationals who are enjoying grants from SA. Anyway the comrades are in power, maybe until Jesus christ comes back.

  • Michael - 2011-08-17 10:55

    just another thing that has slipped past the govt, because they're busy taking showers, rigging tenders, screwing the people and building private hospitals for themselves, or sleeping in conferences overseas that we paid the travel expenses for.

  • george60 - 2011-08-17 11:04

    All Xhosas and Zulus and other, take note that is what you get when you vote for the ANC? ANC is holding you guys for clowns? The foreigners get the full package they come first and you guys get promises every time. I see this as apartheid, foreigners first?

  • Ashoka - 2011-08-17 11:58

    I have heard that similarly, there are hundreds of Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, etc, who also have more than one passport under different names. They claim refugee status here but travel freely to their own countries.

      nchukana - 2012-01-18 15:01

      This country is free for all. Human rights comrades

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