South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has set a five-member committee to review permits and visas issued to most immigrants in that country since 2004.

The move is meant to weed out rent-seeking activities in the Department of Home Affairs considering that in some cases, permits or visas were being corruptly issued.

South Africa is home to an estimated five million foreigners including those from Zimbabwe and other parts of the world.

Dr Motsoaledi told journalists in Pretoria on Wednesday that the committee will review the permanent residence permits (PRP), which are just a step away from citizenship, corporate visa, especially in the mining sector, business visa, professional or critical skills visa, retired persons’ visa, citizenship by naturalisation and study visa.

“We chose 2004 as the cut-off date because that is the year the Immigration Act, Act number 13 of 2002, came into operation,” he said.

The need to review the permits was necessitated by the trend emerging from the outcomes of cases involving prominent people investigated by the Department’s Counter Corruption Unit, which investigates wrongdoing by departmental officials.

He said over the years, they had established that 66 percent or nearly two out of every three reported corruption cases, involved permitting.

Dr Motsoaledi said the cases were being reported by different whistle-blowers using various avenues to reach the Counter Corruption Unit.