THE Department of Home Affairs has suspended 31 officials implicated in the fraudulent registration of Pakistani nationals for birth certificates.
This brings to 59 the total number of officials suspended for fraud in three weeks.
The suspensions were announced by Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Pretoria yesterday.
Dlamini-Zuma said the officials were from KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.
"We have launched a series of investigations into these fraudulent activities with a view to ensuring that those implicated in such activities face the full might of the law," she said.
The minister said besides costing the state millions, the fraudulent registration of births of foreigners was a threat to national security and undermined the country's democratic stability.
"These fraudulent registrations of births of foreigners lead to the false registration of foreigners on the SA Population Register, leading to the issuing of fraudulent identity documents, duplication of existing IDs and fraudulent passports.
"The fraudulent IDs enable fraudsters to access social grants, denying the needy and the poor basic services and costing the state millions," Dlamini-Zuma said.
She said the fraudulent IDs also enabled fraudsters to apply for South African passports, which are then used for illegal activities abroad.
The minister said more suspensions were expected to be announced as investigations gathered momentum.
Disciplinary hearings were scheduled to take place for those currently suspended.