Fake permit scam emerges in East London CBD

Fake permits are allegedly being sold in the East London CBD.
Fake permits are allegedly being sold in the East London CBD.
Image: 123RF/lightwise

The partial blockade at the Kei bridge has opened a market for at least one fraudster operating in the East London CBD.

Police and the army have locked down the bridge, and nobody without a permit comes in or out. But an opportunist has been selling fake permits to passengers eager to get on the other side of the Kei bridge.

The bridge is a link between the former Ciskei and Transkei regions and usually buzzes at weekends as migrant workers and students travel between the two.

At least four people told DispatchLIVE they knew of a man who sold fake permits in central East London.

A traffic officer manning a roadblock near Southernwood also said he was aware of the unscrupulous operation, and police were investigating.

The fake permits would allow them to pass the blockade at the Kei Bridge, where some people have been stranded.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Khaya Tonjeni referred the query to the national police communications office, which had not responded at the time of writing.

A DispatchLIVE source who was, along with a companion, pitched a fake permit at the taxi rank in central East London said: “So basically when I arrived there, I asked for a taxi that is going to Mthatha and they showed me the taxi.

“They asked if I have a permit, and I said no. And then a guy approached me and told me permits were available for R50. Thereafter I was given a form and filled in all the information.

“He said the form had all the reasons and details for the  trip. He said a lot of people travelled on Wednesday and Thursday and that it was not a problem to go wherever you wanted to go using that permit.”

On Thursday, Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, gazetted further amendments to the regulations on the Covid-19 lockdown.

The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces and metropolitan and district areas for the purpose of transporting a body for burial. The amendment also still limits the individuals who are permitted to travel to funerals.

The current prohibition of 50 people attending a funeral is still in operation, while the holding of night vigils is still prohibited. The travel permit may be obtained from a magistrate who is the head of office, a station commander of a police station or someone designated by him or her.

DispatchLIVE went to the taxi rank in the East London CBD where a member of the public said the scam was taking place.

Pointing to a taxi driver who allegedly was working with the scamster, the man said: “If you can’t get it [an affidavit] at the police station, come back here we will see what arrangement we can do.”

But when DispatchLIVE returned, he said there was nothing he could do.

Hitch-hikers in Southernwood and on the N2 off-ramp towards Bonza Bay Road told DispatchLIVE they had been offered the same permit but for R200 on Thursday.

One hitch-hiker said this was due to the demand for them.

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