Sunday, 19 June 2022 08:59

Eight illegal foreigners caught trying to enter SA illegally at OR Tambo airport.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

A video of police apprehending eight foreign nationals at OR Tambo International Airport has been doing the rounds on social media.

In the footage, five men can be seen laying on the ground as a sixth is pulled out of what looks to be a small crawl space.

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has indicated South Africa does not have transit visas, that has made it easy for illegal foreigners to make their way into the country. 

Motsoaledi plans to reinforce transit visas after eight illegal foreigners were arrested at the airport for attempting to enter South Africa.

They entered a network of tunnels via a fire prevention system, officials said. 

The four illegal Bangladeshi and four illegal Pakistani nationals allegedly arrived on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha.

The incident prompted Motsoaledi and Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula to visit the airport.

Motsoaledi said recently, there has been an increase in the number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani citizens who come via Qatar Airways, a route used to go to Lesotho or Eswatini - which is where these illegal foreigners were going.

In this case, OR Tambo is used as a transit point, he said Motsoaledi said those who were supposed to move through to the transit lounge to go to the country they were supposed to go instead took a 'detour'.

"The police officer who is part of the security at the airport noticed and followed the group.

"One of them was holding a phone, which meant they were being directed through the airport because they do not know it, as they are not from here," said Motsoaledi. 

He said the foreigners were found entering the fire system at the airport. The minister explained there are passages inside the pipes that the illegal foreigners intended to use to exit the airport.

"But they were caught.

"When I got there, I called state security because I wanted them to be interrogated thoroughly because we wanted to know what that operation was all about and we also wanted to know why this type of thing is happening now," said Motsoaledi.

When the foreigners were interrogated by state security, Motsoaledi discovered that in 2018, Home Affairs stopped transit visas meaning it was not required when traveling through South Africa.