2 SA officials nabbed for Beitbridge border corruption
TWO senior South African immigration officers based in Limpopo province have been arrested by that country’s special anti-corruption unit, the Hawks, for allegedly taking bribes from Zimbabwean travellers and asylum seekers at Beitbridge Border Post.
They were arrested following intensive investigations which began in 2012.
The Hawks are South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), which specialises in investigating organised crime, economic crime and corruption.
In most instances these targeted crimes are referred to the Hawks by that country’s Head of State or the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The special unit swooped on the suspects on Thursday evening, arresting them for fraud, corruption and extortion.
Hawks’ provincial spokesperson for Limpopo, Captain Mapimba Maluleke, said one of the officers was Mafemani Peter Baloyi (36) who was an assistant manager at Giyani and was recently transferred from Beitbridge Border Post.
He said the second suspect Ntshengedzeni Sharon Mudau (42) was stationed at Beitbridge.
“The male suspect is facing charges of corruption, fraud and extortion, which he committed during the last three years at Beitbridge Border Post, where he was the manager.
“He was in the habit of soliciting for bribes from asylum seekers from different countries.
“The other senior immigration officer was arrested after stamping a passport of a Zimbabwean illegal immigrant for a fee. She was unaware that the man was already in police custody charged with illegal immigration,” he said.
Captain Maluleke said the passport has since been recovered from the suspect.
The duo appeared at the Musina magistrates’ court on Friday, facing charges ranging from extortion, fraud, and corruption.
Mudau was granted R2 000 bail pending trial on September 28 while Baloyi, who is facing charges of corruption, fraud and extortion, was remanded in custody to August 15.
The arrest brings to 17 the number of South African border officials who have been arrested in Limpopo province between May and August this year on charges of corruption and fraud.
In May 15 people, including police and immigration officers along with customs clearing agents, were arrested on allegations of facilitating illegal migration among other underhand deals at the Beitbridge Border Post.
They were arrested following investigations conducted over a period of six months.
Four people have been arrested on the Zimbabwean side of the border since the introduction of security cameras, after they were seen taking bribes from travellers.
Among those arrested are two police and two immigration officers.
This came shortly after the South African government gave Zimbabwe the nod to deploy officers to issue passports, birth certificates and national identity cards to locals residing in that country.
The Deputy Home of Affairs Minister, Cde Obedingwa Mguni, said the documents will be issued at selected points in the neighbouring country as soon as South African authorities identify sites to conduct the exercise.
He said they would also approach Botswana for a similar arrangement.