Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says his department plans to review some permits of persons who had acquired their South African permanent residence documents fraudulently.
Motsoaledi has revealed that some well-known names include Timothy Omotoso, who is found to be among those with illegal documents.
Omotoso, a pastor from the Jesus Dominion International Church, and two co-accused are facing more than 90 sex-related charges including rape, racketeering, human trafficking and sexual abuse.
It is alleged that young women from the Jesus Dominion International were lured to a mission house in KwaZulu-Natal where they would have been spiritually educated but instead they were allegedly sexually assaulted and raped.
It first emerged in 2017 during a Home Affairs official’s testimony in court that the pastor was illegal in SA. In 2019, he tried to have his illegal status lifted but Home Affairs declined the request.
First witness in the Omotoso trial gives details of how young women were abused:
Dr Motsoaledi says they’ll ensure that those who will be found with fraudulent documents, especially permanent residence visas, which are just a step away from citizenship, are brought to book.
“During the course of the past two years when investigating the issue of permits in Home Affairs, we realised that there are lots of problems and I think all these permits needs to be reviewed. There is a case of Omotoso, who is now being charged for rape, but his docs are clearly irregular. We’ve already decided that if he wins his case, we will deport him immediately because he’s not supposed to be here, but if he loses’ when he’s released, we will catch him and deport him.”
Another Pastor in citizenship controversy
In October 2020, Minister Motsoaledi confirmed that ECG Pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary were in South Africa illegally.
Speaking to SABC News, Motsoaledi said his department had uncovered evidence that the Bushiris entered South Africa and conducted business while on a visitors’ visa, using fraudulent residency papers.
The Bushiris made headlines in November 2020 when they illegally fled to Malawi, contravening their bail conditions. They had been charged with theft, fraud and money laundering involving an investment scheme of more than R 100 million. The couple was out on R200 000 bail each.
The ECG church leader Shepherd Bushiri addresses the public from Malawi: