Lesotho man nabbed in ‘SANDF’ uniform

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Lesotho soldiers last week apprehended a Mosotho man putting on the South African Defence Force (SANDF) uniform in Maputsoe town towards the Ficksburg border gate.

Army spokesman Captain Sakeng Lekola said they were tipped off to a man who was swindling money from the communities in the area under the pretext that they were violating COVID-19 regulations.

He said the man disguising himself as a soldier was putting on the uniform similar to the one of the SANDF and targeting primarily people in groups.

Lesotho is currently under ‘orange’ lockdown restrictions that do not allow people to be in groups and in gatherings. Under this level, social distancing is enforced.

Lekola said the man masquerading as the soldier would also go to churches to seek bribes from the congregations.

Out of fear, the people would give him some bribe so they could avoid arrest or heavy penalties.

Public Health (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 show that a person who fails to confine himself in accordance with the regulations commits an offence and is liable to a fine of M5 000 (R4 900) or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month.

What triggered suspicion from the members of the community was that the man never walked in groups like soldiers usually do.

Also the colour of the uniform raised a serious concern.

Some people reported him to the army who followed his footsteps and apprehended him.

His arrest was made easy by the fact that there are soldiers deployed near the border in the area.

Those soldiers usually patrol along the borders to look at unlawful acts such as illegal crossing of people into South Africa.

They also look for smuggling of goods between the two countries.

Lekola said the man has been handed over to the police.

Police spokesman senior superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they have opened a case against the man.