SA cops close in on scam leaders

South African authorities said they believe some Zimbabwean businesspeople from Matabeleland are the leaders of a syndicate duping Ndebeles that they can process papers to let desperate economic refugees South African citizenship.

Since last year, people from Matabeleland have been flocking to a building in Pretoria to apply for naturalisation documents, popularly known as the “Zimbabwe-South Africa” identity document, effectively making them local citizens “We have been given an address where these people are operating from and very soon, they will be arrested,” said a police official here.

“We have already arrested some of them, but key culprits are still at large. We would like to assure the public that this matter will be put to a rest soon. We cannot allow this kind of lawlessness to continue and we would also like to warn people not to fall easy prey to this scam.”

According to sources within the highly-publicised syndicate, which operates inside a building in Lodium, on the outskirts of Pretoria, the people running the ring are some Zimbabwean businesspeople.

“They claim that they want to free Ndebeles from tribalism being perpetrated by Shonas in Zimbabwe,” said the source. “They are also in possession of a fraudulent court order that they use to hoodwink people, but all this is a scam. None of the people who have paid and applied for the passports have received them, yet more and more are still being conned.

“The kingpins are now living large and have bought themselves Toyota Quantum vehicles that they operate as cross-border transport between SA and Zimbabwe.”

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