A social media account supposedly linked to the anti-immigrant lobby group, Operation Dudula has alleged that Nigerian smugglers using fake South African identification documents have placed citizens under scrutiny when applying for visas. Briefly News takes looks into whether this claim has any validity.
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A social media account that seemingly has ties to Operation Dudula, an organisation that has been campaigning for the illegal immigrants to leave Mzansi has made the claim that South African identification documents are being subjected to scrutiny which in turn affects the ability of South Africans to travel internationally.
The account which has more than 19 000 followers, claimed that Nigerian smugglers have been caught using South Africa's system to get visas and that is why South African IDs are no longer secure. The account also stated that the information presented can be verified by a Google search.
The post read:
“Our South African IDs are no longer considered Secure by visa issuing authorities across the world due to many reports of Nigerians smugglers being arrested having used the RSA system to get that visa.”
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Are South African IDs undergoing more scrutiny than normal? We checked
Local embassies say there are no specific policies geared toward South Africans applying for visas. Vigdis Beaussier, the French embassy ambassador says South Africa documents are generally considered secure and they do not have any knowledge about systematic fraud involving SA IDs and passports, reports AfricaCheck.
Beaussier noted that the consulate does deal with fraudsters, however, these fraudsters come from different nationalities and are not only specific to those carrying South African documents.
Paul Collins, the second secretary of immigration at the Australian High Commission says they normally require more than one identification document before issuing Australian visas. Collins also stated that South Africans can be granted visas when using the SA IDs.
Like the French embassy, Immigration New Zealand says when it comes to suspected fraud each case is assessed individually. If there are concerns about certain documents they will ask for further verification.
“Immigration New Zealand does not have a specific policy for identity documents being issued from South Africa,” said Steve McGill from Immigration New Zealand.
Are Operation Dudula's claims about SA IDs false?
While some embassies have verified that they do consider South African documents secure, the claim made by the Operation Dudula Twitter account has some truth, however, it is misleading.
In 2009, the United Kingdom made a decision to stop South Africans from entering the country visa-free. The decision was taken after a few South African IDs were flagged to be used by terrorist suspects who used fraudulent SA passports.
At the time, the UK stated that the decision was meant to target South Africa but was part of the review of its visa processes.
In 2011, the integrity of South African passports was in the media when another suspected terrorist was found with an SA passport. The Institution for Security Studies noted that Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, al-Qa'eda's east African leader was killed in Somalia while allegedly carrying a South African passport.
The institute notes that more suspected terrorists from Tunisia, Libya, the UK and Pakistan have been caught with fake SA passports. The ISS has also noted that the main problem South Africa has when it comes to fraudulent IDs is corruption and that is why dangerous people can get their hands on fake SA IDs.
In conclusion, the claim made by Operation Dudula that South African IDs are under scrutiny during the visa process because of Nigerian smugglers is false, however, SA IDs have been linked to suspected terrorists in the past which has placed them under some scrutiny.
Operation Dudula changes mandate, now targeting legal and Illegal foreign nationals in South Africa
Briefly News previously reported that Operation Dudula has now changed its mandate: instead of campaigning for the removal of only illegal immigrants in South Africa, the organisation now wants all foreign nationals to leave Mzansi.
During an address at the organisation's launch in Cape Town on Saturday, 14 May, Operation Dudula's National Secretary Zandile Dubula stated that documented foreign nationals working menial and service industry jobs will not be exempt from the call to not take up those positions.
Dubula stated that foreign nationals who work in SA in jobs that have not been categorised as critical or scarce skills cannot be allowed to work in those fields, reports TimesLIVE.
Source: Briefly News