37 bor­der jumpers ar­rested in SA

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda

SOUTH African po­lice have res­cued 37 un­doc­u­mented Zimbabweans from a hu­man traf­fick­ing syn­di­cate and ar­rested two taxi drivers who were trans­port­ing the vic­tims.

The il­le­gal im­mi­grants 21 men, 11 women and five chil­dren were in­ter­cepted in Polok­wane while on their way to Pre­to­ria.

In a state­ment, Lim­popo provin­cial po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant-Colonel Moat­she Ngoape said they re­ceived a tip-off that three Toy­ota Quan­tum kom­bis were trans­port­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Zim­babwe to Pre­to­ria on Thurs­day last week.

“Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion, the Zim­bab­wean il­le­gal im­mi­grants crossed into South Africa through an il­le­gal cross­ing point. We in­ter­cepted two taxis and we’re still search­ing for the third one and its driver. We sus­pect that th­ese peo­ple were be­ing traf­ficked and we’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing,” said Lt Col Ngoape.

He said the in­ter­cepted ve­hi­cles were be­ing driven along the N1 South high­way.

“The cars, which were head­ing to­wards Pre­to­ria, were spot­ted just be­fore Polok­wane and on be­ing stopped, a search was con­ducted and it was dis­cov­ered that the 37 Zimbabweans were all il­le­gal im­mi­grants,” said the po­lice spokesper­son.

Lt Col Ngoape said the Zimbabweans will be charged for vi­o­lat­ing the Im­mi­gra­tion Act while the two drivers are fac­ing charges of trans­port­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants un­der the same Act.

He said the two drivers and the vic­tims will all ap­pear in the Polok­wane mag­is­trate’s court soon.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion, an av­er­age of 100 il­le­gal mi­grants are in­ter­cepted daily at Beit­bridge Bor­der Post as they try to skip the coun­try to South Africa.

Zim­bab­wean bor­der jumpers wish­ing to cross into South Africa are helped by com­muter om­nibus drivers com­monly known as oma­lay­it­sha who are well con­nected to of­fi­cials on both sides of the bor­der and know who to bribe up un­til peo­ple cross to the other side. —@mash­nets.

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