Couple bust for illegal abortion clinic

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pretoria - A Johannesburg couple has been arrested for allegedly running an underground abortion clinic in Bruma.

The couple, who were also believed to have been in possession of ivory and abalone, was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

SARS Customs spokesperson Sibabalwenathi Mfabe said the operation followed a tip off from a member of the public.

"Investigators found medical equipment that indicates that an illegal abortion clinic was being run on the premises. Chinese medicine, syringes were also found and what at the moment appears to be a consulting room that may be used to conduct abortions.

"The consulting room contained what is believed to be a gynaecology examination table, examination equipment and a bin with medical waste suggesting recent activity in the room," said Mfabe.

The health department is also conducting its own investigation into the suspected medical facility.

SARS and police officials also seized several square shaped blocks of suspected ivory as well as 210 bottles of liquor and 15 cartoons of cigarettes on the couple's property. Abalone was found concealed in a large coffee tin.

The couple was not in possession of the required customs declaration forms.

Commenting on the arrests, Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said: "This attests to what we can achieve through continual cooperation as a society, not just as law enforcement agencies of government but also what we can achieve if members of the community work with us."

"The couple faces charges of contravening the Customs and Excise Act, contravention of the Medical Act and possession of illegal ivory. They are to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court tomorrow," Dlamini said.

The public is urged to contact the SARS Fraud and Anti Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 28 70 or the SAPS Crime Hotline on 08600 10 111 or SMS 32211 if they suspect similar practices.