The police’s Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) has confirmed the repatriation of thirty Malawian children who were smuggled into South Africa in the back of a delivery truck a few months ago.
The Hawks confirmed that the children left for Malawi from the O.R Tambo airport, Johannesburg on Wednesday morning, while the adults were handed over to the Department of Home Affairs on Monday for deportation.
The investigation unit added that the Malawian nationals are expected to leave the country by the end of the week.
The security agency said after a thorough investigation, it was found that the children were aged between 11 and 17 while adults are between 18 and 28 years old.
While their detention lasted, the thirty Malawian children were housed in safe homes in the country while the Malawian Embassy also rendered meaningful help towards their welfare.
In July this year, SAPS nabbed the driver of a delivery truck Jabu Sailesi (48) and an occupant of the vehicle Mussa Kaswili (31) for conveying the undocumented Malawian children.
The truck driver was pulled over for driving at high-speed – after which the children were found sitting in the truck, which had no windows.
Against the background of kidnapping mission, the Hawks said “Investigations later revealed that this case was not a Trafficking in Person case but rather‚ Smuggling of Persons under the Immigration Act.
The driver‚ Jabu Sailesi (48)‚ and an occupant of the vehicle Mussa Kaswili (31) now face a charge under the Immigration Act. They will appear at the Rustenburg Magistrate Court on 13 February 2017 for trial.
A third person initially arrested‚ Uka Wasili (30)‚ was not charged under the Immigration Act as he was in possession of a valid passport when the offence was committed.”