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Home Affairs official sacked over Bushiri scandal

THE Department of Home Affairs has announced that the chief director who recommended that fugitive and self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his family should be issued with permanent residence permits, which they did not deserve, has been dismissed with immediate effect.

Home Affairs spokesman Siya Qoza said Ronney Marhule, the chief director for permitting, was found guilty on two counts of misconduct relating to dishonesty and negligence after a lengthy disciplinary hearing, which lasted almost a year.

Qoza said this was after Marhule tried in vain to stop the disciplinary process at least on three occasions at the Labour Court and at the Labour Appeal Court.

“Marhule was charged on two counts with gross dishonesty and negligence, and non-compliance with the Immigration Act, regulations and standard operating procedures,” said Qoza.

He said the first count was related to recommending the approval of the Permanent Residence Permit applications of Bushiri, his spouse, and two children, and the second count is related to recommending the approval of the Permanent Residence Permit applications for Mohamed Afzal Motiwala and Fatima Ebrahim.

Qoza said: “The chairperson of the disciplinary hearing found that Marhule showed no remorse and that the relationship of trust between the employer and the employee has broken down and cannot be restored.”

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the outcome of this disciplinary hearing was taking them closer to ensuring that they bring to an end irregular practices and decisions by Home Affairs officials within the system.

“We are cracking down on all forms of the irregularities wherever we find them at Home Affairs. The department is committed to ensuring clean governance,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People’s national spokesman Dennis Bloem said the official must be criminally charged as the dismissal was not enough.

“When Bushiri escaped from the country, we said that we suspect that it is an inside job, and an indication of how deep and serious corruption is in Home Affairs. It is now clear that he bought his way out of the country. We don’t have any doubt that money was involved in this transaction of Bushiri’s fraudulent permanent residence approval. We must not take this matter lightly,” said Bloem.

He said they welcomed the dismissal of the official and were calling on Minister Motsoaledi to lay criminal charges against him.

“This will send out a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated anymore,” he said.

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