The head of the human settlements department in Mpumalanga, Kebone Masange (51), appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of fraud in terms of the Immigration Act.
Brig. Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement that an investigation had been launched to verify Masange’s citizenship status after information came to light that he had been illegal in South Africa since 1995. Masange is from Zimbabwe.
“According to the national population register, Masange received three different identity documents on different dates. “For two of the identity documents he applied for as a South African citizen, and the other one as an exempt Zimbabwean citizen, which was granted in 1997,” said Mulaudzi.
According to him, this is contrary to the amnesty of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which stipulates that an applicant has had to live in South Africa full-time since July 1991 to qualify.
A few months before the release was announced by the SADC, Masange allegedly submitted applications under the name of Kebone Masangeni in the Ferreirasdorp regional office in Johannesburg in March 1997 to obtain a birth certificate and his first ID document. In this application he claims that he was born in Johannesburg.
In May 1997, an ID document was issued to him again, but this time he allegedly claimed that he was born in Pietermaritzburg.
Masange also apparently succeeded in January 2007 in helping his then wife to obtain a permanent right of residence in South Africa.
Muluadzi says Masange was at one stage summoned to the Home Office for an interview after the three different identity numbers assigned to him were observed on the system.
“After that he declared under oath that he was born in Letlhabile, Brits. “Masange clearly misrepresented himself to the department three times and he also did not submit both the identity documents he obtained through misrepresentations during the 2010 amnesty granted to Zimbabwean citizens,” Mulaudzi claimed.
Masange was released on warning on Thursday and is expected to appear in court again on September 11, pending further investigation.