The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as The Hawks, says 17 Lesotho nationals aged between 21 and 48 years, were sentenced on for Contravention of the Immigration Act. The matter was heard at the Molteno Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape on Friday, 3 June 2022.
They were aprehended in April by authorities while en-route after they failed to explain where and why they were travelling.
“In April 2021, a suspicious looking Quantum vehicle was spotted and chased by police. Inside the Quantum were Lesotho foreign nationals who could not explain the purpose of the journey. Permits were requested to no avail. All of them were apprehended. Investigations led the police to a house in Sterkstroom where more of the accused were hosted to make up the 17,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela in a statement on Friday.
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LESOTHO NATIONALS TO REMAIN IN CUSTODY FOR THREE MONTHS
The Hawks have pointed out that the case against the Lesotho nationals dragged on due to their lack of cooperation. Mgolodela says the accused would sometimes refuse to comply with their legal representative’s instruction and repeatedly changed attorneys.
“After a series of court appearances all pleaded guilty on 19May 2022 hence their sentencing today. The accused are to remain incarcerated for three months. On imposing judgement the Presiding Officer reiterated the fact that unregistered foreign nationals contribute to the high rate of crime and which mostly involves the destruction of the essential infrastructure where billions of rands are spent to repair the gross vandalism of such”Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela
The Provincial Head Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya has reacted to the latest development in the matter by commending the Queenstown Serious Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks. Ngwenya has lauded the team for the job well done, but his office notes that the court could have imposed a harsher sentence on the accused, in a bid to deter such criminal conducts.