Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that five hundred and fifty-three (553) fraudulent marriages have been finalised since 1 January 2022.
Motsoaledi was responding to a parliamentary question from Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Khethamabala Sithole who asked the minister how many fraudulent marriages his department had reversed since 1 January 2022 and what steps his department had taken to end fraudulent marriage certification.
In his reply, Motsoaledi said his department has introduced a new marriage register form (DHA-30) with requires a photo and thumbprint of the couples for verification purposes.
The department further requires couples to make an appointment with the nearest front office to verify the marital status and to attend a brief interview prior to the registration of the marriage.
“Couples are also advised and forewarned that marriage is a legally binding contract and that they should be fully aware of the consequences. Couples are thereby encouraged to seek legal advice regarding the benefits and disadvantages of accepting marriage, regardless of it being to a foreigner, as fraudulent marriages are prevalent mainly with foreign nationals marrying South Africans for convenience purposes,” said Motsoaledi.
On the day of the marriage a couple must present the following documents to the person officiating the marriage ceremony:
- Identity documents (for each person getting married)
- If a foreign national is marrying a South African citizen, the non-citizen should present a valid passport as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of no impediment to confirm that he/she is not married in country of origin)
- If the marriage is for a minor (a person under the age of 18 years), written consent is needed in the form of DHA32 by both parents/ legal guardian or form DHA34 from the Commissioner of Child Welfare or a judge. In the case where the marriage is between minors under the ages of 18 for boys or 15 for girls, written consent from the Minister of Home Affairs will also be required.
- If any of the persons who are getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be furnished.
- If any of the persons who are getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.
Home Affairs implements changes on passports
In a bid to clamp down on passport fraud, the home affairs department in August implemented a few changes when collecting passports
In March this year, 29 people were arrested for alleged fraud, corruption, contravention of the Immigration Act and possession of suspected fraudulent documents at a Home Affairs office in Krugersdorp, following intelligence received regarding the fraudulent passport allegations countrywide.
While people could previously apply for passports and collect them from any Home Affairs office in the country, the department has put a stop to it.
According to Motsoaledi:
- A passport can only be collected strictly from the office where it was applied for.
- Only the person who applied for that passport can come and collect it by activating it through a fingerprint.
“What people don’t realise are the serious consequences and hardships that the country suffers when its passports are defrauded in this manner. The main one being that the integrity of the South African passport will be put into question, causing many hardship for South African travellers,” said Motsoaledi.