Close to 20 Lesotho foreign nationals have been sentenced to direct imprisonment for the Contravention of the Immigration Act by the Molteno Magistrates Court on June 3, this after a “suspicious looking Quantum” was spotted and chased by police.
Hawks spokesperson, Capt. Yolisa Mgolodela, said: “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."
Mgolodela added that the case dragged due to the accused's' lack of cooperation. At times, she said, the accused would even refuse to comply with their legal representatives' instruction and repeatedly changed attorneys.
After a series of court appearances all the accused pleaded guilty on May 19 and were sentenced on Friday. “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, which mostly involves the destruction of the essential infrastructure where billions are spent to repair the gross vandalism of such.”
The provincial head of the Hawks, Maj. gen. Mboiki Obed Ngwenya, commended the Komani Serious Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks for the job well done, though a harsher sentence would have been preferred to deter such criminal conducts.