A Mpumalanga head of department (HOD) has been released on a warning by the Pretoria magistrate court following his arrest for allegedly illegally living in South Africa for 25 years.
Kebone Masange (51), HOD for Human Settlements, was on Wednesday arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) and Home Affairs officials following a probe to verify his status in the country.
In a statement, the Hawks said an investigation was launched after it emerged that Masange had been allegedly in South Africa illegally since 1995 and was from neighboring Zimbabwe.
According to the national population register, Masange was issued with three different identity documents on different dates.
“Two of the identity documents, he applied for as a South African citizen and the other one as an exempted Zimbabwean citizen granted in 1997,” the statement reads.
That, said the Hawks, was at odds with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) amnesty that states that to qualify, an applicant needed to have continuously lived in South Africa since July 1991.
A few months before the SADC exemption was approved Masange reportedly submitted an application for a notice of birth and his first RSA identity document at Ferreirasdorp regional offices in Johannesburg using the name Kebone Masangeni during March 1997. In the said application he claimed that he was born in Johannesburg.
“Again in May 1997 through misrepresentation, he was issued with another identity document as an RSA citizen but this time he claimed he was born in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.”
Masange reportedly managed to assist his then-wife to obtain permanent residence status in January 2007.
The Hawks said the accused was at some stage summoned to the home affairs offices for an interview after the three different ID numbers attributed to him were picked up on the system.
He then deposed a sworn affidavit stating that he was born in Letlhabile, Brits.
“Masange has clearly misrepresented himself three times to the department and he also failed to surrender both identity documents that he obtained through misrepresentation during the 2010 amnesty that was granted to Zimbabwean nationals,” reads the statement.
Masange has been charged for fraud in contravention of the Immigration Act.
He has been released on a warning and is expected back in court on 11 September 2020 pending further investigation. – SAnews.gov.za