Home South African Health and Home Affairs officials in court over illegal adoption

Health and Home Affairs officials in court over illegal adoption

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A new development in an illegal adoption case in the Free State has taken a twist after a Home Affairs official and an employee from the Department of Health were arrested and appeared in court.

Home Affairs official Khotso Teroso David Mefane and Department of Health official Lehlohonolo Aby Motlaloe were implicated in an illegal adoption. Picture: Hawks

A NEW development in an illegal adoption case in the Free State has taken a twist after a Home Affairs official and an employee from the Department of Health were arrested and appeared in court.

Khotso Teroso David Mefane, 57, an official from Home Affairs, and Lehlohonolo Aby Motlaloe, 45, an official from the Department of Health, joined their co-accused in the Botshabelo Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The duo were implicated in an ongoing illegal adoption and fraud case currently being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and were arrested on Friday, March 24.

According to the provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Warrant Officer Fikiswa Matoti, the matter is being investigated by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team based in Bloemfontein.

Mpolai Mabele and Motsidisi Setlai were implicated in an illegal adoption. Picture: Hawks

Mefane and Motlaloe joined their co-accused, Motsidisi Setlai, 51, and Mpolai Mabele, 35, along with the parents, aged 29 and 59, of the children.

The names of the parents cannot be divulged to protect the identity of the children.

“It is alleged that two females, a Lesotho national and a South African, went to Botshabelo Home Affairs for late registration applications for two children, aged 5 and 15. An official from Home Affairs who was assisting them became suspicious and immediately notified the police,” Matoti said.

According to the preliminary investigation, it was discovered that an official from the Department of Health allegedly recruited foreign nationals to illegally adopt children.

“The recruited woman would identify children and negotiate with their parents to give consent in exchange for a monetary reward, should they agree. She would take the children to a Home Affairs official who would register them. The children would later be registered for Sassa grants and they (the suspects) would share the money,” Matoti said.

Setlai and Mabele were arrested on March 17.

The children’s parents were arrested on March 18.

All six suspects appeared in court and were granted R1,000 bail.

The matter has been postponed until May 2 for further investigation.

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