By Rex Mphisa
ABOUT 300 people believed to be Zimbabweans were on Wednesday arrested around Musina, including the Beitbridge Border Post areas, for allegedly flouting South African immigration laws, officials in South Africa have said.
Among those arrested was a suspected human trafficker, caught with a two-year-old undocumented Zimbabwean toddler during a joint operation code-named “Basadi”, supervised by Mamane Dickson Masemola, a member of the executive committee (MEC) in charge of the affairs of the Limpopo province bordering Zimbabwe.
A joint statement from Masemola – who is the MEC for Transport and Safety and the Limpopo Province commander of South African Police Services (Saps), Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba – issued on Wednesday evening said 295 people had been arrested under the Immigration Act .
It also said Mamane, who sits on a committee of provincial ministers, participated in operation Basadi, which incorporated stop-and-search roadblocks, including patrol crime-beats.
“The MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Namane Dickson Masemola, has today (August 21, 2019) visited Musina in support of the law enforcement operation, Basadi”, the statement said.
“The on-duty parade was held at the Musina South African National Defence Force (Sandf) military base and the integrated operation was conducted until 13:00hrs, covering Musina, the Beitbridge Border Post and surrounding areas.”
The stop-and-search operation was carried out along all the major roads, targetting police wanted persons and all unlicensed businesses.
“In total, 373 suspects were arrested for residence and business burglary, aggravated and common assaults, thefts of and from motor vehicles,” the statement read.
“Saps units from the lowest to the highest ranks, constituting female police officers within the environments of Crime Intelligence, Assets Management, Legal Services, Corporate Communication, Provincial Support, Vispol, Detectives, Stock Theft, FCS, VCIU, DPCI, CR & SCM, POCC, ORS, K9, Mounted Unit, the Public Order Police Unit, Beitbridge Border Gate and cluster commanders of Tzaneen, Seshego, Mahwelereng, Polokwane, Makhado, Giyani, Modimolle, Lephalale and Thohoyandou, joined forces as they embarked on law enforcement activities around the border area. During this operation, Saps women were also joined by other law enforcement partners from the Provincial and Municipal Traffic and the Sandf.”
Operation Basadi (women), which is ongoing, has a bias to acknowledge police women and has in some occasions involved Zimbabwean female cops in operations within the border areas.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are arrested in South Africa on a daily basis as they flee a free-falling economy which government blames on illegal sanctions.
The main opposition MDC party, however, points at misrule and poor management of the economy — coupled with corruption — as the main undoing of an otherwise promising nation whose citizens now flock to South Africa where they settle for poorly-paid second-class jobs.
Of late, most cross-border travellers have found themselves having to jump the border, risking robberies and attacks by wild animals since Zimbabwe currently does not have enough material to produce passports, with government only able to produce 800 travel documents per day