The Department of Home Affairs, in a joint operation with other security agencies, today arrested 355 illegal immigrants in the vicinity of Crown Mines in Johannesburg.
Announcing the arrests in Pretoria, Deputy Director-General for Immigration Jackie McKay said, “We can confirm that Home Affairs immigration officials today arrested 355 illegal immigrants of various nationalities in the Crown Mines area.”
“At this stage, we can also confirm that of this number, 337 were males of Bangledeshi, Pakistani and Chinese origin while 18 were Chinese females. Those arrested are being held at the Lindela Deportation Centre while awaiting the issuance of travel documents from their diplomatic representatives in South Africa following which they will be deported to their countries of origin.”
“We have reason to believe that these 355 undocumented immigrants were smuggled into the country by syndicates operating in both South Africa and their countries of origin.”
“These arrests and others like it send a positive message that government will not tolerate corruption and those implicated in such activities will face the full might of the law,” she added in a statement.
Meanwhile, the South African Press Association reports the corruption case against a Home Affairs official and her two co-accused was postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court this week. Maria Moyo, 44; Samson Mogashoa, 65; Hazel Shazaad, 34; and Rebecca Mnisi, 37, are scheduled to appear on January 27. The four are accused of being part of a syndicate that illegally sold passports to foreigners. Moyo was released on R2000 bail in December along with Mogashoa. The two others remain in police custody.
Seperately, SAPA reports the department remains confident it will achieve a June 30 deadline set for regularising the documentation of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. “I can confidently say that we will reach that target,” director of the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, Jacob Mamabolo, told the news agency. “Those who will be waiting for their permits will be given a 30-day grace period from July 1 to July 31. “(From) August 1 the department will be in a position to commence with deportation,” said Mamabolo.
The department received 275 762 applications from Zimbabweans who wanted to legalise their stay in the country. In April last year Pretoria announced a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans and granted them a special dispensation for one year so that they could get documents from Zimbabwean officials based in South Africa. The dispensation was to allow them to normalise their stay in South Africa.