ActionSA cries foul after bail granted to 26 of 27 'passport syndicate' suspects
Two Krugersdorp home affairs officials among suspects bust in March 'making SA passports'
Twenty-six suspects who are among a group of 27 arrested for their alleged involvement in a syndicate selling fraudulent passports and documents reserved for SA citizens have been granted R2,000 bail each.
The Krugersdorp magistrate's court on Thursday granted them bail, while accused one, a Pakistani who allegedly entered SA illegally and obtained his asylum fraudulently, was denied bail as he was deemed to be a flight risk. His asylum status was revoked.
The accused were charged with corruption in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
TimesLIVE reported that two home affairs officials from the Krugersdorp office are among the suspects.
ActionSA president Herman Mashaba, who has campaigned vigorously for stronger action to be taken by the government against foreigners in the country illegally, said: “ActionSA regrets the outcome of the bail application hearing of the 27 people accused of allegedly being involved in the passport fraud syndicate.
“The syndicate, which includes Pakistani foreign nationals as well as allegedly corrupt South African home affairs officials, are facing multiple charges of corruption, being in possession of suspected fraudulent documents and contravening the Immigration Act.”
While respecting the court's decision to grant bail, ActionSA “stands by its previous assertion that all of them should be kept behind bars”.
Mashaba said illegal immigration has had a negative affect on society. “Xenophobic violence has become a serious problem, where civilians have given up on law enforcement’s ability to handle this matter.
“We will continue to keep our eye on this case and hope that if found guilty, an example will be made of the syndicate because to do otherwise would only serve to further undermine the rule of law and sovereignty of our country,” he said.
The group was arrested in a sting operation at the offices of the Krugersdorp department of home affairs in the early hours of March 25.
This was after law-enforcement authorities received a tip-off about an alleged passport-making syndicate that worked with home affairs officials to identify South Africans willing to sell their identities for R500. The South Africans' details would then be used to produce a passport for foreigners which would be sold for R40,000 each.
The trial date has been set for July 5.