A total of 36 illegal Malawian immigrants remain in custody after they were arrested in Theunissen in the Free State. Hawks spokesperson, S’fiso Nyakane, says a concerned member of the public saw an overloaded bakkie with a large number of people on it last Thursday. Police were alerted. Upon further investigation police found two men inside the same bakkie and about 11 men and women sitting next to it.
Police found the bakkie next to the road after it broke down. More people, hiding under a nearby bridge, were also arrested. He says the suspects were allegedly on their way to Port Elizabeth where they planned to seek employment.
The driver and his assistant are charged with human trafficking. The remaining suspects face charges of violating the Immigration Act. The suspects appeared in the Theunissen Magistrate’s Court, but the case was postponed while the court awaits a translator. They will be back in court on August 23. – Christal-Lize Muller