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The court debacle involving former Newcastle Municipal Manager Kebone Masange has noted further developments following him being charged for fraud and contravention of the Immigration Act last year.
On 4 September 2020, the Newcastillian – Online News reported how, after leaving the Newcastle Municipality, he took on the role as the head of Mpumalanga’s Human Settlements Department in 2015.
However, he was arrested by immigration officers on 1 September 2020 in Pretoria on allegations that he had multiple identity documents in his possession.
According to the National Population Register reports, Masange was issued three different identity documents, a clear violation of the law. In addition, the three identity documents were apparently issued on three separate dates.
Allegedly, Masange applied for two of the identity documents, one as a South African citizen and the other as an exempted Zimbabwean citizen (which was granted back in 1997). Masange hails from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) amnesty states that to qualify, an applicant needed to have continuously lived in South Africa since July 1991.
Having been charged for fraud in contravention of the Immigration Act, Masange appeared at the Pretoria Magistrate Court on 3 September 2020. He was then released on a warning and was expected back in court, pending further investigations conducted by the Hawks’ Gauteng serious corruption investigation unit.
Following the recent court proceedings, Regional Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, Lumka Mahanjana, explained, “The suspended Head of the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements, Kebone Masange and the former acting Director of Public Prosecutions of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, Matric Luphondo briefly appeared at the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on charges of corruption.”
Mahanjana explained that during the proceedings, it was brought to the court’s attention that one of the accused on the matter, Ayanda Plaatje, the Hawks Unit Commander of Serious Corruption Investigation Lieutenant-Colonel, has since passed away. It is alleged that the three colluded to bribe the prosecutor to withdraw charges against Masange.
Mahanjana highlights, “The prosecutor then reported the matter to his seniors, as well as to the police. Subsequent to further investigations, the three were arrested.” However, the matter was postponed to 30 November 2021 for further investigations.
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Photo credit: Image sourced from Kebone Masange’s Facebook profile