Money smugglers slip on their own modus operandi

Andries Mahlangu (19), who has been charged with contravening the Correctional Services Act 111 of 2008, Section 118, 119 and 121, was released on a warning and will appear again on September 13.

Andries, along with Zacheus Hlatshwayo (60), George Mabena (39) and his brother, Ernest Mahlangu (27), who all hail from Secunda, were arrested on Saturday after they allegedly tried to smuggle R600 into the Barberton Maximum Correctional Centre using bananas.

They all had to spend the weekend behind bars. Appearing in court on Monday, Hlatshwayo, Mabena and Ernest’s, charges were not placed on the court roll and as a result they didn’t appear before Magistrate Lucky Mhlanga.
Only Andries appeared to face the charge of contravening the Correctional Services Act 111 of 2008, Section 118, 119 and 121.

Mhlanga released him on a warning, pending his next court appearance on September 13.
Initially, according to Mesiah Hlungwani, DCS spokesman, the four men (not three as it was reported earlier), were arrested by correctional officers after they allegedly tried to smuggle R600 into the Barberton Maximum Correctional Centre.

He said the four were visiting a relative inside the facility on Saturday when a fruit basket filled with bananas and apples was spotted.

Read: Prison invests into inmates’ family support system

The basket, intended for an inmate, was searched by officials when the money was found stashed in the bananas which were slightly cut open.

“The accused came with a fruit basket, which had bananas and apples, pretending to be goodies for an offender. From distance, it looked like normal bananas, but the dreadful news was that there was money hidden inside each banana. The accused allegedly opened (each of the three), shoved in money and tried to seal it. Other bananas without money were placed on top of the fruit basket with apples and the ones with money were hidden underneath,” said Hlungwani.

Also read: Inmate confirmed dead after Barberton prison fire

He said the arrests were a breakthrough in reducing smuggling in correctional centres. “We warned the public about this before, and we promised that those who smuggle will face the mighty hand of the law. When we say zero tolerance to smugglers, we mean business,” said Hlungwani.

  AUTHOR
Richard Nkosi
Reporter

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