A 24-year-old man, Nhlanhla Sizani, briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday facing charges of fraud, alternative forgery and uttering after he was issued with a summons in December.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (also known as the Hawks) spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said Sizani made misrepresentations and managed to get South African Police Service (SAPS) escort.
“It is reported that during the 2021 local government elections the accused, Sizani, submitted a fraudulent letter with the United Nations (UN) insignia, requesting the SAPS escort to polling stations for the duration of the elections,” Mogale said.
“Sizani is said to have misrepresented himself as a United Nations (UN) ambassador/diplomat and thus was escorted by SAPS Diplomatic Police Unit to various polling stations as an observer,” she said.
“Through investigation by the Hawks' Crime Against the State within the Serious Organised Crime Investigation, the UN confirmed that Sizani was not an ambassador/diplomat or an observer, and the request for escort was not requested by them.”
Mogale said SAPS suffered actual financial loss as a result of the misrepresentation.
The case was postponed to the January 23 for Sizani to obtain legal representation.
Last year, the Hawks issued a warning of people claiming to be from its offices, acting on fake warrants of arrest.
At the time, Hawks spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said the fake officials approached people claiming to be middle managers affiliated to the Hawks, purporting to be acting on warrants of arrest for fraud, maladministration, nepotism and theft.
She warned communities that there were no members of the Hawks who will call or send anyone documents demanding money to withdraw charges or make legitimate cases disappear.
“The suspects are targeting civil servants from different government departments providing them with fraudulent documents alleging that a warrant of arrest has been issued against them,” Sekgotodi said.
“They demand to meet them regarding the on-going investigation and demand money as gratification to ensure that the non-existent cases are withdrawn against the unsuspecting victims.”
She added that several reports were received where fraudulent letters displaying Hawks logo were sent to victims purporting to be from the Hawks.