Nhlanhla Mathebula, a 40-year-old Home Affairs official, was recently convicted and sentenced for corruption by the White River Magistrate Court. The sentence was handed down on Wednesday, 11 October 2023, following an investigation conducted by the Hawks Middelburg-based Serious Corruption Investigation.
The investigation revealed that Mathebula was involved in fraud and corruption by processing fraudulent passports for foreign nationals using South African citizens’ identity documents. In return, he received gratification from the foreign nationals who obtained the fraudulent passports.
Further investigation uncovered that Mathebula allegedly colluded with South African citizens to assist foreign nationals from Pakistan and Bangladesh in obtaining South African passports using their identity documents. As a result, four individuals, Faud Mohammed Ali, Christopher Marillier, Gabriel Samuel van der Merwe, and Sifiso Kheswa, were linked to the case and subsequently arrested.
After the investigation was finalized, the accused individuals were sentenced by the White River Magistrates’ court for fraud and corruption. Each of the accused received a R100,000 fine or three years imprisonment for charges relating to the contravention of the Immigration Act. Additionally, they were each fined R40,000 or sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Nhlanhla Mathebula, who was also linked to the case, was denied bail and remained in custody until his sentencing. Mathebula received a harsher sentence due to his direct involvement in the corruption. He was sentenced to 10 years direct imprisonment for counts 1 to 12 of corruption. For counts 13 to 24, which involved the contravention of Section 49 of the Immigration Act, he was sentenced to 3 years of direct imprisonment.
The sentence imposed on counts 13 to 24 will run concurrently with counts 1 to 12. Furthermore, a confiscation order was granted against Mathebula in terms of Section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA). He has been ordered to pay an amount of R94,600.00, which represents the gratification he received for processing the fraudulent passports.
The Provincial Head of the Hawks, Major General Gerber, welcomed the sentence and commended the investigating team and prosecution authority for their efforts in ensuring that justice prevails.