Limpopo police have arrested two foreign nationals suspected of human trafficking after 24 undocumented Ethiopian nationals were found hidden inside two vehicles. The two cars were reportedly heading to the Gauteng province.

The arrest took place on Wednesday, 28 February 2024 in Morebeng. It followed a rigorous investigation into activities suggesting the smuggling of several undocumented immigrants into South Africa.

ALSO READ: Life imprisonment for Man who raped a 90-year-old elderly woman

The operation was conducted by members of the Provincial Tracking team in collaboration with private security companies. They intercepted two motor vehicles at the Munnik T-junction. The suspects were en route to Gauteng province travelling along the R81 after they passed through the Beitbrige border post.

Upon inspection, the officers discovered a total of 24 undocumented Ethiopian male nationals hidden inside the Toyota Fortuner and Hyundai H1 both with Gauteng registration numbers. Both drivers are also illegal immigrants from Ethiopia.

Foreign nationals arrested for attempting to smuggle immigrants in human trafficking syndicate in Limpopo
24 undocumented Ethiopian nationals caught in Limpopo


Preliminary information revealed that all the 24 illegal immigrants aged between 18 and 40 were destined to Gauteng. This confirmed suspicions of an ongoing smuggling operation aimed at exploiting these vulnerable individuals for profit.

The 24 individuals are facing charges of violating the Immigration Act. Meanwhile, the two drivers aged 28 and 30 will be facing charges, including human trafficking and violating the Immigration Act.

 “This arrest is a clear demonstration of our officers’ hard work and the seriousness with which we treat all forms of human trafficking and exploitation. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our country does not serve as a destination or transit point for such heinous crimes.” Said the Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe.

The suspects will appear before Morebeng Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 01 March 2024.

Premier of Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address [SOPA] at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane on Thursday. The Premier is serving his last term in office and will not be back in office after the national and provincial elections to be held in May.

ALSO READ: Limpopo Police release third-quarter crime statistics

The SOPA was attended by members of the Executive Council. Members of Parliament, Members of the Judiciary, Executive Mayors, Local Mayors and many other guests.

Mathabatha spent the better part of his speech highlighting the progress made in addressing the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. He also acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done, including strengthening programmes to address youth unemployment.


“As I stand before you today, on this significant occasion of delivering my last annual State of the Province Address, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and reflection. It has been an honour to serve as the Limpopo Premier since 2013, leading our fifth and sixth administrations through their journeys of transformation and renewal,” he said.

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivers his last SOPA

“When we achieved our April 1994 democratic breakthrough, less than 30 per cent of rural households had access to electricity. Today, we have electrified at least 94.6 per cent of rural households in Limpopo. Marking a significant improvement in access to electricity.

“People in rural areas overwhelmingly dependent on firewood to cook, using three-leg pots. There was deforestation, impacting trees and other plants, an important source of oxygen supply for human life, and a key resource of environmental conservation. Forests have risen in various areas that were affected, thanks to our massive household electrification programme,” he said.  

ALSO READ: Limpopo government refutes reports of underspending

“In healthcare, it is pleasing that we currently have 476 clinics in Limpopo. Two hundred and sixteen of our healthcare centres, that is 45 per cent, operate 24 hours a day.

In 2010, we reached 80 per cent of access to water, reaching more communities and improving public health outcomes. However, because of various countervailing factors, we have experienced a decline to 69.1 per cent. We are worried about this, and we are hard at work with authorities in the water provision space to improve the situation.”

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha delivered his last State of the Province Address
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha signing the national anthem 

“It is important to note that we have improved access to sanitation, to 63.1 per cent, up from 26.9 per cent in 2002, and up from a far lower baseline in 1994.

“Our tarred road network has significantly expanded since April 1994. It is now covering rural areas that were neglected before. Through this progress, we have enhanced connectivity and improved transportation efficiency, facilitating economic development in Limpopo. At present, our target is to surface 13,800 kilometres from gravel to tar.”

ALSO READ: Limpopo learner dies after complaining about stomach cramps

“We have worked very hard in education. Our efforts are now visible in improved matric results. We have improved from a 38 per cent matric pass rate in 1996. At 79.5 per cent in 2024, our matric pass rate now approximates our 80 per cent target.”

“From just over 911 thousand households in 1996, we have increased to over 1.8 million households in 2022. This substantial growth in households highlights Limpopo’s growing population. We have now reached over 6 million people, according to the latest census.”

Police in KwaZulu Natal have confirmed that a seventh suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder of AKA. AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes was killed alongside his friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane in February last year.  On Tuesday, Police confirmed that six suspects have been arrested so far.

ALSO READ: Limpopo Police release third-quarter crime statistics

KwaZulu-Natal SAPS spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda has now confirmed that a 30-year-old suspect was arrested on Wednesday.

“The arrest brings the total number of suspects arrested for the murders to seven,” said Netshiunda.

Seventh suspect arrested in murder of rapper AKA


The arrest comes less than 24 hours after police announced that six people were charged with the February 2023 murders.

Two suspects were arrested in Eswatini over the weekend. They are still being extradited to the country. The five suspects are expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

More to follow… 

The Greater Giyani Municipality, Limpopo has appointed three contractors to do 9KM road surface milling at section A. This is in their quest to address the potholes challenges. The project will start next week on Monday, 04 March 2024.

ALSO READ: Limpopo government refutes reports of underspending

It is expected to be completed by the end of this financial year, 30 June 2024. Thats if all goes according to plan.

“Meanwhile, similar projects will be done later at all other sections such as D1, D2, Section E, Section F and Kremetart,” said the municipality.

Giyani Municipality appoint contractors to fix section A road
Giyani aerial map


“These projects will be done in partnership with the Road Agency Limpopo (RAL). The official handover of the contractors will take place tomorrow (29 February 2024) at Giyani Section A Park at 14h00,” they said.

“Members of the community, especially residents at section A should note that during the construction, their daily life routine will be affected. Thus, we appeal for patience and cooperation throughout the duration of the project.”

The Groblersdal Regional Court, Limpopo handed down a life imprisonment sentence to a 35-year-old Man accused who raped and assaulting an elderly woman aged 90.

The court heard that on 31 July 2022, the accused broke into the house of an elderly woman at Elandskraal. He found a panga in the victim’s bedroom, he assaulted her with it before raping her.

ALSO READ: Limpopo Police release third-quarter crime statistics

He thereafter fled the scene with the said panga. Police were alerted about the incident, they opened cases of rape and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The victim was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

The rape case was transferred to Mokopane Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit. It was assigned to Sergeant Lesetja Langa for further investigation.

The suspect was traced and arrested. Police also recovered the panga with blood stains, which were used to assault the victim.


Accused: Ephraim Matshela Madiba (35) was sentenced to life imprisonment for rape and 24 months in imprisonment for Assault GBH. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, praised the investigating officer and his team for ensuring that perpetrators are removed from the society and kept in jail.

“We welcome the life sentence and we are glad that justice was finally served, concluded Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe.

Commissioner of Police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe on Tuesday released the third quarter crime statistics for the financial year 2023/2024. General Hadebe was joined by MEC for Transport and Community Safety Ms Florence Radzilani at the Landbank Building in Polokwane.

The crime statistics culminate from the national crime statistics released by the Minister of Police last month.

ALSO READ: Limpopo learner dies after complaining about stomach cramps

The Provincial Commissioner reiterated that there are still challenges in escalation of murder cases. This is as opposed to the comparable period of statistics last financial year.

The province also dealt with 88 cases of illegal mining and detained 220 suspects involved in illicit mining activities, as well as immigration violations. Among these suspects, there were a total number of 190 foreign nationals and 45 South Africans. 44 illegal immigrants were deported.

The provincial commissioner said that Operation Vala Umgodi’s effectiveness in dismantling illicit operations and preventing further environmental degradation is exemplified by the confiscation of mining equipment, among others, TLBs, generators, and jackhammers, whose value amounts to R20 962 564. Operation Kukula and various operations conducted across the Province resulted in 28,946 suspects being apprehended and detained.

Limpopo Police release third-quarter crime statistics
MEC Florence Radzilani and Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe

The arrests include, among others: 196 suspects of murder, 83 for attempted murder. 193 for robbery, 237 for rape, 46 for sexual assault, 63 for robbery aggravating, 7 for carjacking, 29 for house robbery, 91 for business robbery, 2272 for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), and 1560 for common assault.

Meanwhile, a total of 97382 grams of drugs were confiscated, 969 electronic devices were confiscated, seizure of explosives amounting to 8026 units that comprise 8009 fireworks and two commercial explosives and recovered 123 stolen or robbed motor vehicles.


“I convey my profound gratitude for the exceptional work carried out by our members in promptly apprehending five suspects implicated in the tragic murder of Dr. Malekutu Johannes Mehlape from the Department of Education, who was fatally shot at his residence, Mankweng on December 28th, 2023.

“This odious act that claimed his life had a deep-seated impact on our community however, thanks to the unwavering efforts of our members, finally justice will be served as we prepare a watertight case against the perpetrators,” said General Hadebe.

She also noted a rise in sexual assault cases. “I am encouraged by reductions observed across various categories, to the extent that the sexual offenses category decreased.”

She further applauded the improvement made by Thohoyandou Police Station by moving from one spot lower in the top 30 stations nationally, while Seshego and Mankweng are still lingering on the list.


Limpopo amongst the nine Provinces was the only Province that reduced the contact crime category, by a staggering 5%.


There was an escalation of 9.5% in murder cases. It amounted to an increase of 25 cases as compared to the statistics of the same period last year. Mob justice accounted for 34 out of the reported 288 cases.


There is a rise in sexual assault cases with a staggering percentage increase of up to 17.8%.


The Province has recorded a decrease in assaults GBH by -7.4% and common assaults by -12.5 %.


There is a rise in the number of GBV cases against children under the age of 17. In the period under review, the province has recorded a 50% increase in murder and 10% in assault GBH against children under the age of 17.


There is an overall reduction of 8.1% in the trio crimes. This includes the reduction of -6.4% in robberies at residential premises and -13.6% in nonresidential robberies. 

The Limpopo Provincial Government has  refuted claims that they underspent over a billion rand and returned it to the National Treasury in the 2022/23 financial year. According to the DA in Limpopo, the province has over a billion rand in unspent amounts from their allocated budgets.

The party says the following budgets were not utilised: Education: R523.3 million. Health: R570.5 million. Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure: R 226.1 million. Agriculture: R98.7 million. Social Development: R72.4 million. Legislature: R45.1 million. Transport and Community Safety: R40.7 million. Premier’s office: R16 million. Treasury: R14 million. Also the Economic Development, Environment and Tourism: R8.4 million.

ALSO READ: Heavy rains damage households, schools in Elias Motsoaledi

But in a statement issued on Tuesday, the provincial government said the figures were not for the 2022/23 financial year.

“The Provincial Government has not returned the figures stated to [National] Treasury,” they said.

“The Provincial Government denounces the reference of the statement or apportioning it to the 2022/23 financial year as that information is deliberately misleading. The figures are not for the 2022/23 financial year and the Provincial Government has not returned the figures stated to [National] Treasury.

“The process of declaring funds as unspent is quite involved. Conditional grants and equitable shares that are not spent within a financial year are repurposed by the Provincial Treasury. The money is appropriated in budgets for subsequent years within the provincial government,” read the statement.

Limpopo government refutes reports of having underspent over a billion
Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha


“After that a request for roll-overs is made to the National Treasury that approves or rejects it. Only then a surrender of the amounts that could not be rolled over takes place.

“In the case of the 2022/2023 financial year the Provincial Government only surrendered R122 million to the National Treasury. Arising out of the Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme (R81 million) and other smaller projects which only constitute 0,15% of the provincial budget of over R70 billion.”

“The general underspending for 2022/23 was  1,9% of the appropriated budgets which is within the National Treasury norm of 2% and an improvement from 2021/22.”

Judge Mandisa Maya has been nominated for the Chief Justice position by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Chief Justice position will become vacant on 31 August 2024 when the term of office of Justice Raymond Zondo comes to an end.

ALSO READ: Social Development HOD placed under precautionary suspension

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has in terms of Section 174(3) of the Constitution embarked on a process of consultation with the leaders of political parties represented in Parliament, the Judicial Service Commission to convey his nomination of Judge Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa,” the presidency said in a statement.

Judge Maya currently serves as Deputy Chief Justice. She has previously held the positions of Deputy President and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.


The Chief Justice was appointed for a 12-year term with effect from 1 September 2012. The Chief Justice will therefore complete his term as a Justice of the Constitutional Court with effect from 31 August 2024.

President Ramaphosa has also invited the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly to make submissions on the suitability or otherwise of Deputy Chief Justice Maya to hold the office of Chief Justice.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has nominated Judge Mandisa Maya for Chief Justice
Judge Mandisa Maya

He has drawn the attention of leaders of political parties to Judge Maya’s illustrious judicial career. She was first appointed as a Judge of the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court in 2000.

Maya attained B.Proc (University of Transkei); LLB (University of Natal); and LLM (Duke University, North Carolina, United States of America) degrees. She has also obtained three LLD degrees (Honoraris) from the Universities of Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela.


President Ramaphosa has also nominated Justice Dumisani Hamilton Zondi as Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Justice Zondi currently serves as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The term of office of the Current Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Xola Petse, will come to an end on 10 July 2024. This is when he attains the age of 70 and will be automatically discharged from office.

Justice Zondi holds a B.Juris from the University of Fort Hare. An LLB from the University of Natal, as well as an LLM from Georgetown University in USA.

Following a successful career in practice, Justice Zondi was appointed to the Western Cape Bench in 2007. In 2011, he became a Judge of the Competition Appeal Court. Justice Zondi was elevated to the Supreme Court of Appeal in June 2014. In 2022, he was appointed as a Chairperson of the Electoral Court.

President Ramaphosa has invited the Judicial Service Commission to make submissions on Justice Zondi’s suitability for the position.

Heavy rains and storms on Monday have damaged several households in the Elias Motsoaledi Municipality, Limpopo. The severe weather conditions unfolded late on Monday afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction and displacing many families.

Reports indicate significant damage to property, with shattered windows, and compromised roofs. Infrastructure such as electricity and bridges suffered considerable impact and left roads impassable.

ALSO READ: Polokwane Municipality issue update on the Power failure

The most affected wards in the Municipality are 22, 23, and 24, along with villages including Mogaung, Legolaneng, Maphepha, Mzanzi, Phumula, Sephaku, and Vlakfontein.

One family, the Mampuru, experienced a particularly harrowing ordeal when their home was breached by the force of the storm. They were promptly transported to Glen Cowie Hospital for medical attention, where they received treatment for their injuries before being discharged late last night.

Additionally, primary educational institutions like Sindile Primary School and Tshita Creche sustained substantial damage, compounding the challenges faced by the community.

Heavy rains damage households, and schools in Elias Motsoaledi Municipality
Damaged School in Elias Motsoaledi Municipality


Meanwhile, the executive Mayor of Sekhukhune Minah Bahula has expressed sympathy for families affected by the rains. She has also extended her deepest sympathies to the families impacted.

“In response to this crisis, the Executive Mayor alongside the Hon Mayor of Elias Motswaledi Cllr Magetle Tladi will mobilize resources to establish a multi-sectoral task team, which will be deployed to the affected areas immediately,” the Elias Motswaledi Municipality said in a statement.

“The task team will coordinate efforts to provide relief and support to those in need. With a focus on restoring essential services and infrastructure to ensure the well-being and safety of residents.”

“Despite the severity of the situation, we are thankful that no fatalities have been reported thus far,” added Executive Mayor Bahula.

“However, the road to recovery will undoubtedly be challenging. It is imperative that we stand united as a community to overcome this adversity”.

The Executive Mayor has reassured the affected families that the government stands in solidarity with them during this difficult time. She pledged unwavering support in their recovery efforts.

A learner [15] from Raleledu Secondary School has died after being amongst 52 other learners who complained about stomach cramps. The female grade 09 learner falls under Baltimore Circuit, Mogalakwena Education District.

The sad incident happened on 23 February 2024, when learners started complaining about stomach cramps.

ALSO READ: Burgersfort residents attack suspected thugs in vigilantism

Some started vomiting after they had been fed their food. Learners were rushed to the nearby health center and later 52 learners were transferred to George Masebe Hospital. 51 learners were treated and discharged. The 15-year-old was the only learner who was critical and later passed on.

A Limpopo learner dies after complaining about stomach cramps
A learner from Raleledu Secondary School in Mogalakwena has died


MEC for Education in Limpopo, Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya expressed her sadness about the incident.

“This is very heartbreaking,” she said. “We send our deepest condolences and prayers to the bereaved family.”

“This can never be something to just brush off. Investigations will be conducted to find the root cause of what happened to our learners.

“The alleged food poisoning is something not to be taken lightly, when there is so much awareness in the country about unsafe food. When a young life is lost the future slowly becomes bleak. We need to protect our youth,” MEC lamented.

“Psycho-social support will also be offered to the school community in light of this accident.”