By: Siyabonga Sithole
A foreign national yet to be identified was on Sunday arrested for selling fake passports at one of the informal trading stalls at Johannesburg Park Station. The news of the arrest was shared by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) after the agency was made aware of an existence of an illegal sale of passports and IDs right under their noses.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the agency which manages Park Station confirmed that the foreign national was subsequently arrested by members of the police following a tip off that led them to the culprit who was renting the facility from a South African with a permit to trade at the Park Station cloakroom.
According to the agency, upon arrival the police searched the facility and discovered computer hardware and components as well as fake passports, photographs, ID cards and printing equipment believed to belong to the culprit whose was running an identity fraud syndicate at the facility.
It is not clear when the suspect, who is currently held at the John Vorster police station, will appear in court. Prasa said the informal trader was subletting the stall at R5 000 per month, something not allowed as it promotes illegal activities.
"We are aware of the illegal sub letting of trading stalls to persons who are not authorised to operate in our premises. We have recently introduced the informal trading policy to deal with many illegal activities at our facilities and ensure that informal traders comply with South Africa's Health and Safety, Environmental Health and Safety regulations,"the agency said.
This incident comes just a week after the agency issued out a notice removing informal traders from operating at the entrance of Park Station after the agency erected a fence structure to deal with the influx of informal traders who had Ben trading at the gate of the facility for years.
"Recently, a notice was issued to informal traders requesting them to vacate Park Station to allow for formalization of the informal trading policy and better regulate the presence of informal traders, unlawful, free-for-all renting of trading stalls and degradation of Park Station has necessitated that we act for the safety and security of our personnel, commuters and informal traders and to preserve our infrastructure as a matter of urgency," reads the statement.