File picture: Pexels

Johannesburg - A family of a foreign national who has been languishing in jail for 12 days without trial is desperate to have him released.

Zimbabwean Muchena Mizias was arrested on November 15 after police ran into him at a shop in Mokopane, Limpopo, and took him into custody.

Hardlife Macala said his cousin Mizias had come to South Africa on November 13 to buy materials for his shop in Zimbabwe when he was arrested and has always used the same border, Beitbridge border post, to come to South Africa without any problems.

He said the police asked for his passport but then asked for time to verify the Home Affairs stamp on it when the travel document was delivered at the police station.

“They asked for his passport and he told them he left it at home. He then called his wife back home who has relocated to Mokopane to bring him the passport. They checked it to see if it was legit and  stamped.

“After that, they told them that he (Mizias) was not going to be released as yet as they needed to take the passport to the home affairs office in Mokopane for verification. However they have since kept him in custody without charging him and verifying the passport,” said Macala.

Macala claimed his cousin finally appeared in court last week and the case was postponed to Thursday.

“The magistrate at the court said the dates on the last stamp were not clear and said the passport would be taken to the home affairs in Pretoria for verification,” he said.

Macala said accused the police of violating violated his cousin’s rights.

He said Mizias was only given 60 days at the border and those days are busy being wasted by a long and draining verification process.

“This is affecting him and his business. Since he is here, his business has stopped back in Zimbabwe.

“I don't understand this system. Are police not supposed to investigate to make an arrest rather than arresting to make an investigation?"

According to the South African Police Service, a person must be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 48 hours after the arrest.
However, the police in Mokopane dismissed the claims.

Constable Beka said: “Mizias’ passport was verified the same day of arrest at the home affairs in Mokopane and he has since been charged with being undocumented.

Beka said she didn't know when he appeared in court and when he will appear again but confirmed that he was still in custody.

The department of home affairs had not responded to the media inquiry at the time of going to print.

[email protected]

The Star