Durban, August 25,2004
South African police have arrested 17 Indian, Pakistani
and Bangladeshi nationals for allegedly being involved in a fake marriage
scam to stay in the country illegally.
"These people have either paid women to marry them
or they have married women without their knowledge with the collusion
of corrupt officials," Leslie Mashokwe, a spokesperson for the
Department of Home Affairs, said on Wednesday.
He said all the foreign nationals were arrested in and
around Johannesburg over the past few days. They would be deported if
they were found to be in the country illegally.
"After obtaining the marriage certificates, the
foreign nationals obtain divorce certificates so that they could remain
in the country," the spokesperson said.
Mashokwe said that 401 women across the country had
discovered that they had been married fraudulently to husbands who were
total strangers to them.
They made the discovery following a campaign by the
Department for single women to check their marital status.
"We have received thousands of complaints from
people about the fake marriages. We are currently investigating about
3000 fake marriages."
In addition to Pakistan, Indian and Bangladesh nationals,
citizens from several African countries have also been found to be involved
in the scam.