undocumented foreigners arrested

Police Minister General Bheki Cele and NPC Gen Sitole arrives with his entourage at the Margate Beach. Image via SAPS

SAPS: Hundreds of undocumented foreigners arrested on New Year’s Day

A string of arrests in Durban with Police Minister Bheki Cele leading the charge.

undocumented foreigners arrested

Police Minister General Bheki Cele and NPC Gen Sitole arrives with his entourage at the Margate Beach. Image via SAPS

More than a hundred undocumented foreign nationals were arrested on the first day of the new year during intensified South African Police Service (SAPS) operations.

Police, who have had their hands full over the festive period, have vowed to continue their numerous campaigns in provinces and towns across the country. Safer Festive Season operations, supported by the departments of transport, home affairs and even SARS, have been especially active in and around border posts, monitoring movements of foreign nationals and cracking down on illicit goods.

Top cop Cele leads charge on Durban beaches

Law enforcement agencies were out in full force during New Year’s Day celebrations; patrolling beaches and conducting roadblocks on problematic routes. Cele spent the day in Durban, where he, along with KwaZulu-Natal police officers, interacted with community members and conducted sweeps across the promenade.

Operations conducted on Durban’s beachfronts netted a host of arrests, most related to undocumented foreign nationals. Cele confirmed that more than 120 foreign nationals were taken into police custody for failing to produce valid papers, passports or documentation. Speaking to SABC News, Cele elaborated:

“For the first one-and-a-half hour session, we have arrested 121 undocumented people on this beach – 121 and counting. We just find them in big groups. You ask for the papers and find no papers, no passport, nothing – and most of them come from Malawi.”

The minister of police added that cops cracked down on the public consumption of alcohol. Cele noted that drunkenness in public spaces was still one of the leading contributing factors to violence and reckless behaviour.

Buses impounded in Limpopo

In Limpopo, Cele’s deputy, Cassel Mathale, manned a roadblock with assistance from the region’s Transport and Community Safety MEC Dickson Masemola. The province, which has been the scene of horrific road carnage over the festive period, has experienced a massive spike in traffic volumes, one which is directly related to the movement of foreign nationals to Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Border police and the department of home affairs noted that most foreigners who departed from South Africa in December, were likely to return within the upcoming weeks, further increasing traffic volumes and necessitating the need for heightened police presence.

Mathale confirmed that buses transporting Zimbabwean nationals were stopped and investigated during a roadblock in Polokwane. The deputy minister of police confirmed that 54 undocumented foreign nationals were found to be on-board. Mathale explained:

“At the roadblocks we experienced two or three buses from Zimbabwe. They can’t continue with their journey unfortunately.”

The undocumented foreign nationals were placed under arrest and the buses, impounded.

Mathale also praised police for uncovering an illegal cigarette smuggling operation – valued at more than R1-million.