By Kaya 959 Reporter
Police have arrested eight people for allegedly running an illegal border crossing syndicate at the Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the arrests come after an 18-month investigation.
Those arrested include six Home Affairs officials, a police officer, and a foreign national from Mozambique.
“The biggest pain for me is that the foreign national… seems to have been the mastermind,” the minister said.
The woman, who is an ordinary hawker, allegedly told government officials what to do.
Motsoaledi said an undercover agent contacted the woman and asked her to help him cross the border. The agent told her his passport had expired. The woman allegedly entered SA and was arrested.
Motsoaledi said people would go to the border without the necessary documents.
“The officials will then stamp them and get money from the agent, not aware that they are taking money from a police officer. Some of these officials allegedly took as little as R300 to allow people to enter the country without proper documents.”
More officials arrested
Motsoaledi said it is painful “to learn that one’s country can be sold for as little as R300”.
“What a shame. To me, this is not just crime or corruption, but it is an absolute disgrace and an act of treason against one’s country,” he said.
Motsoaledi added that police have nabbed other officials for corruption.
Last week, officers arrested three Home Affairs officials in Ermelo. They allegedly demanded money from foreign nationals who run a business in the area.
Pretty Ngomane, Khulekani Zulu, and Mavis Mthethwa are currently out on R2 500 bail and are due back in court next month.
Last month, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Cape Town convicted former Home Affairs official, Joseph Lebitsa, on eight counts of corruption. He is now serving eight years imprisonment.
Motsoaledi said Lebitsa and his accomplices were unlawfully linking photos of foreign nationals to existing identity numbers of South African citizens to illegally issue passports.