Panic On SA Side At Bbridge Border Post As, Over 50 People, Including SA Home Affairs, Arrested For Fraud, Corruption & Human Trafficking

Over 50 people including South African Home Affairs officials have been arrested on their side of the Beitbridge border post in a development that has left Zimbabwean officials in panic mode.

The 50 were arrested for fraud, corruption and other illegal activities and it is suspected that some of the crimes are committed in cohorts with Zimbabwe Government workers at the border.

Masvingo Mirror reported that the suspects, who include senior SA immigration officers and Police, were apprehended during a crime prevention operation between Home Affairs and the Hawks last week.

It is suspected that the officials arrested were aiding human traffickers, smuggling rings and drug and cigarette traffickers working with organised syndicates on the Zimbabwean side.

Media reports said the 50 were expected to appear before a Musina court last Friday although no further reports have been published.

Earlier reports quoted SA Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba applauding the arrests, saying it demonstrated that his department is serious about fighting illegal activities.

His Zimbabwean counterpart Ignatious Chombo who recently visited Beitbridge and said his Government was losing about 50 percent of the possible revenue from Beitbridge through corruption.

Chombo and a ministerial committee established to plug holes at the porous border said they would soon install cameras to fight crime.

Zimbabwe wants to increase patrols along the border line and the road from Beitbridge to Chikwarakwara is currently being upgraded.

Officials arrested in South Africa were spotted on cameras that have been monitored over a long time while others were caught in the act.

Foreigners from as far afield as Somalia pass through the Zimbabwean side and find their way into South Africa assisted by some Zimbabweans.

There are several known human smugglers at Beitbridge who charge amounts ranging from $300 to $500 to facilitate an illegal entry into SA.

These human smugglers use stolen or forged documents and passports. Some of those arrested are suspected to have been fast-tracking processing of residents and work permits to some undeserving applicants or issuing of free visas.

An immigration official said more than 3 000 passports have been returned from SA after they were found to be stolen and being used by other people and not real holders.

Source – Masvingo Mirror
image- SA Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba

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