According to information gathered during an investigation, scores of human trafficking victims were allegedly transported from Mozambique to the South African border where they had to cross the border illegally through a river.
A father and son duo, Cornelis Johannes Uys (60) and Cornelis Johannes Albertus Uys (23), were remanded in custody by the Belfast Magistrate’s Court on July 4 after they were arrested by the Hawks Nelspruit based Serious Organized Crime Investigation on July 3 for trafficking in persons.
Their arrest followed after two other suspects, Carlos Bernardo Guambe (34) and Gabriel Bernardo Guambe (32) were arrested on June 24 for trafficking in persons, where 39 victims including seven women, nine children under the age of five and 23 males all over the age of 18 were rescued from a farm in Dullstroom during a multidisciplinary operation by members of Nelspruit Serious Organised Crime, Flying Squad, Department of Labour and Home Affairs.
Further information gathered at the crime scene was that the modus operandi allegedly entailed the recruiting of victims from Mozambique and transporting them into South Africa via a taxi with a promise of better job opportunities.
The victims were allegedly transported from Mozambique to the border where they had to get out of the taxi and cross the border illegally through a river to the other side of South Africa before they were taken by the taxi to Lydenburg.
The son of the farm owner and one trafficker allegedly met with the taxi driver and paid him money in exchange of the victims who were taken into the farm for labour.
Further investigation allegedly revealed that both the victims and two suspects were illegally in the country.
The victims were rescued and taken to a place of safety.
The two suspects, the Guambe brothers, were charged with trafficking in person and additional charges of the Contravention of Illegal Immigration Act whereby they were taken to court last week, joined by the Uys duo at Belfast Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The case against the four was postponed to July 11 for formal bail application and they were remanded in custody.