The three arrested home affairs officials allegedly demanded money from foreign nationals owning shops around Ermelo, in Mpumalanga, as from January, claiming that the foreign nationals are illegal in South Africa
PRETORIA – Two immigration officers and an assistant director at the department of home affairs in Ermelo have been arrested by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga after they were entrapped for demanding money from foreign nationals in the province.
“The trio allegedly demanded money from foreign nationals owning shops around Ermelo town as from January, claiming that they (foreign nationals) are illegal in the country. The complainant then reported the matter to the local police station and an investigation was launched by the anti-corruption unit,” said Mpumalanga SAPS provincial spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
“An operation was conducted where the three suspects were arrested (yesterday) after receiving trap money and it was found in possession of the suspects.
Mohlala said the government officials were scheduled today, to make their first appearance before the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on a charge of corruption.
Meanwhile, provincial commissioner police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela said law enforcement agencies are doing everything in their power to root out corruption in the province.
“No one is above the law. Anyone found to be in breach of the law will be arrested irrespective of the position he or she holds. Mpumalanga must be a crime free province,” said Manamela as she applauded the “sterling work” of the police.
Last year, three home affairs officials in Limpopo were arrested for demanding a R10 000 bribe from an undocumented immigrant they were supposed to arrest during a routine inspection.
“Home affairs officials aged between 30 and 42 have been arrested during a sting operation (by) the serious corruption investigation unit and home affairs counter corruption unit for alleged corruption in Jane Furse,” said Limpopo regional spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Captain Matimba Maluleke.
“The suspects, who include a Nebo home affairs control immigration officer and two Jane Furse home affairs immigration officers allegedly conducted a routine inspection at one of the foreign-owned shops and found an undocumented immigrant.”
He said instead of arresting the immigrant, the officials allegedly demanded a R10 000 “gratification” for his freedom.
“The amount was reportedly reduced to R4 000 and it was paid by the victim to the suspects. The matter was reported to the Hawks, who swiftly conducted an investigation that resulted in the arrest of the three officials,” Maluleke said.