The Hawks have arrested 67 foreign nationals in Johannesburg in a sting operation also involving the Home Affairs Counter-Corruption and Security Unit.
The raid took place on Saturday night.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says some of the foreigners book in hotels that don’t even exist to secure a place in South Africa.
“Some would give the name of the hotel, and when you call the hotel they don’t know about that person. Others would tell us about Pakistan relatives whom they are visiting here and when you try to get phone numbers of relatives they just go blank. They are coming to South Africa to do what and where, that’s a big question.”
Motsoaledi adds, “We just have to turn them back very early. We can have a person who is coming here, not knowing what they are here to do. Remember this was a sting operation and we were able to prove it. So, you can’t allow such people in your country, you just have to turn them back. I’ve instructed that they send them back to Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele said yesterday that the problem of undocumented foreign nationals continued to impact crime-fighting efforts.
This followed the police’s Operation Shanela in the Johannesburg CBD, where more than 300 people were arrested.
Counterfeit goods and medicines were some of the goods confiscated.
The operation commenced just before midday yesterday on bustling De Villiers Street.
Police were, however, left with fewer stalls to inspect as most shut down when they heard police were in the area.
Three hundred people were arrested for various transgressions.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s Ramarumo Bobape says most medicines being sold were unregistered.
“Most of them are your steroids, topical medicines that are used to lighten the skin. They are supposed to be registered, but most of them are not registered with SAHPRA,” says Bobape.
A large chunk of the arrests involved undocumented foreign nationals.
Police Minister Bheki Cele says it’s concerning that so many of them are continuing to trade in illegal goods in the city center.