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Sting on illegals and their activities

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Sting on illegals and their activities

by Esther Lewis
06 Feb 2008
The Peoples Post
The Peoples Post

A SPECIAL joint operation has been ridding the streets of criminal activities, and theyre honing in on illegal immigrants.

"The joint effort between the South African Police Service and Home Affairs was successful," says Captain Elliot Sinyangana, police spokesperson.

The focus of the operation is to track down illegal immigrants, find those whose permits have expired and arrest all foreigners who are involved in criminal activities.

A group of about 13 trained police officers have been recruited to work with the Department of Home Affairs to clamp down on those involved in any crimes, ranging from drug peddling to possession of stolen goods.

The unit apparently base their sting operations on information received from the public. They operate across the province, but focus mainly on the peninsula.

Last week two Malawian men were arrested for selling dagga from a petrol station in Turfhall Road, Lansdowne. Their Wetton home was searched and more drugs found. On Monday another illegal immigrant was found with 89 units of cocaine.

People arrested for illegal activities, however, are not immediately deported. The unit must let the law run its course, and if convicted, the immigrant would have to serve their sentence in a South African prison. Once the sentence has been served, the immigrant is deported.

A home affairs official, who asked not to be named, says not all drug dealers arrested come to the country because they want to be involved in these crimes. Some of them are "forced" into it.

Many asylum seekers wait for months on end for their applications to be approved, says Braam Hanekom of People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop).

While they wait, they must find ways to sustain not only themselves, but their families. In some cases, Hanekom says, the family can consist of about 15 people.

Without the appropriate documents, illegal immigrants cannot find work.

"It's no surprise then, that people who are already hiding from police turn to crime to survive."

Meanwhile officials involved in the operation continue to target slum hotels - infamous for housing illegal immigrants in subhuman conditions - drug dealers and traffickers.

Anyone with information on illegal activities can phone the 24 hour number 082 808 2768.

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