Fake date stamps gang languishes in SA jail

By Thupeyo Muleya

The bail hearing for three Zimbabweans who were recently arrested by South Africa’s specialised crime unit, the Hawks for possessing three fake immigration stamps, has been further postponed to October 11.

File picture of a Hawks raid
File picture of a Hawks raid in South Africa

Tanaka Chidhakwa, Wellington Chauke and Admire Zengeni are believed to be part of a syndicate running bogus immigration offices between Musina and Beitbridge border town.

Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo Province, Captain Matimba Maluleke said the trio appeared before a Musina magistrate yesterday charged with illegal possession of date stamps.

He said the bail hearing has been postponed to October 11 and the trio was remanded in custody.

“The suspects were arrested on September 11 soon after entering the country (South Africa) via Beitbridge Border Post,” he said.

“They were intercepted following a tip off. Body searches were conducted leading to the discovery of the three fake immigration stamps. The trio’s tools of crime were seized and they were in turn arrested.”

Capt Maluleke said further investigations into the matter were underway.

He said they had come up with a number of strategies to weed out those involved in criminal activities along the border.

Under South Africa’s immigration laws, Zimbabweans are allowed a stay of not more than 90 days in that country per year.

SA immigration officers at the border are reluctant to give Zimbabweans the 90 days and this has seen some syndicates exploiting an opportunity to award people 90 days per single entry for a fee.

In April, a 24-year-old man from Dulivhadzimo suburb in Beitbridge who was part of a syndicate operating a bogus immigration office in the border town was jailed for two years.

Osman Sibanda was arrested along with Vanu Juawo (50) and were found in possession of 41 replica stamps of the South African Immigration Department and seven imitations of the Zimbabwean immigration stamps.

Early this year a 29-year-old Zimbabwean man was jailed for six years in South Africa after he was busted by the Hawks for opening an illegal office at Beitbridge border post.

Duncan Danda was arrested at his base within the border taxi rank on January 3, where he was stamping passports for foreigners including Zimbabweans. The Chronicle